Tag Archives: Season


Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them.
Ezra 1:3 (NIV)

The temple in Jerusalem lay in ruins. It had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar’s army just as had been prophesied by Jeremiah and others. Now, time has passed and the wind has changed. God’s people living in exile in Persia have been granted permission by Cyrus to return home and rebuild.

This morning, I’m thinking about the seasons of life. All of us will face times of rebuilding that may or may not be physical. Some suffer the loss of some natural tragedy, but more often than not our rebuilding is  the rebuilding of our lives after the loss of a loved one, rebuilding after a divorce, rebuilding after a significant move, a job change, or the rebuilding of life after our hopes and dreams shatter.

Whenever my life journey has brought me to a season of rebuilding, I have always, always felt overwhelmed by the task. It is the nature of the process. It stretches us, tests us, and generally requires an increased measure of faith. How apt that Cyrus’ decree to the Hebrew exiles included “May their God be with them.”

Facing a time of rebuilding life? May God be with you.


photo: FEMA

Timing is Everything

Joseph interpreting the dreams of the baker an...
Joseph interpreting the dreams of the baker and the butler, by Benjamin Cuyp, ca. 1630. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pharaoh’s chief cup-bearer, however, forgot all about Joseph, never giving him another thought. Genesis 40:23 (NLT)

Timing is everything. Over and over again I’ve seen this simple truth bear out along life’s journey. Wise King Solomon put it best in the book of Ecclesiastes (and gave the Byrds the lyrics to their number one hit a couple millenia later):

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.

The timing of Joseph’s audience with Pharaoh was not yet right and there was a reason the cup-bearer forgot to mention Joseph as requested. Despite Joseph’s series of hard knocks, there was a plan and a reason. God was working His plan to put Joseph in just the right place at just the right time to accomplish His good purpose. Despite the fact that he would have to spend more time in prison, God was looking out for Joseph in the midst of his suffering.

Today, I am thankful for where God has me. It’s not anywhere near where I thought I would be on life’s road. I have only the vaguest of ideas of God’s ultimate plan for me. Nevertheless, the story of Joseph reminds me that even the most arbitrary and negative of circumstances can be threads in a beautiful tapestry and story that God is weaving in and through me.

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. I Peter 5:6 (NLT)

Chapter-a-Day Numbers 27

Moses Face
Image via Wikipedia

Moses followed God’s orders. He took Joshua and stood him before Eleazar the priest in front of the entire community. He laid his hands on him and commissioned him, following the procedures God had given Moses. Numbers 27:22-23 (MSG)

A week or so ago I was catching up with a long-time friend. When I asked him what he’d been experiencing in his own life and faith journey, he commented that he’d learned that life was separated into several different “seasons.” In the simplicity of our youth we tend to think of life in simple terms. We are children and then we become adults. We’re young and then we grow old.

My friend was correct, however. There are many seasons in life and with each passing season there is time of transition which can be accompanied by grief, joy, confusion, contentment, frustration, and any number of other emotions.

There is something essentially human in needing “rites of passage” to help us transition from one season of life into another. In today’s chapter, God saw to it that Moses created a rite of passage to transition authority and leadership from himself to Joshua. Likewise, we have graduation services, weddings, showers, special ceremonies, confirmations, birthday parties, and awards dinners to help us mark time and the occasions when life transitions from one season into another.

My experience is that some of the most important rites of passage have been lost or weakened in our time and culture. The rite of passage for girls into womanhood, and boys into manhood are incredibly blurry (and often non-existent) in today’s world.

Today, I’m thankful for life in all of its seasons. Death-like winter seasons of difficulty teach us wisdom, patience, perseverance and prove our character. Summer-like seasons of joy provide rest, healing, abundance, contentment and celebration. I’m also mindful today of how I can consciously help my family, friends and loved ones as they transition from one season to another through our various rites of passage.

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Chapter-a-Day Isaiah 27

Still clinging. "At that same time, a fine vineyard will appear. There's something to sing about! I, God, tend it. I keep it well-watered. I keep careful watch over it so that no one can damage it. I'm not angry. I care. Even if it gives me thistles and thornbushes, I'll just pull them out and burn them up. Let that vine cling to me for safety, let it find a good and whole life with me, let it hold on for a good and whole life." Isaiah 27:2-5 (MSG) 

Jesus said he is the vine. I am this vine. I am Isaiah's vine. I soak up God's tender care, his life-giving water, and his faithful watchfulness. In return I've given Him thistles and thorns. So often I have rewarded his loving care with sour grapes. Nevertheless, He keeps loving, keeps tending, keeps watering, keeps pruning.

Still, I'm clinging to Him for safety. And, I'm finding goodness and wholeness. Seasons pass. Old things pass away. New things come. Each year is a new vintage.

God, let my life be a vineyard that produces the choicest of wines that, in turn, reflects your skill as the Master Gardener.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and hodge

Chapter-a-Day 2 Kings 15

I80 western nebraska. Shallum son of Jabesh became king in the thirty-ninth year of Azariah king of Judah. He was king in Samaria for only a month. 2 Kings 15:13 (MSG)

Bear with me today, as my impressions from the chapter are more wholistic instead of being linked to a particular verse.

I've had a case of the blues for the past couple of weeks. Life feels a bit stagnant at the moment. It's sort of like driving through western Nebraska. You know that you are moving down the road, but you wouldn't know it from looking out the window. The view isn't changing. This has been a very long, very cold, very snowy winter. I feel a bit snowbound. I'm tired of gloomy, snowy days and long, dark nights. The days all seem the same. I feel like hope blew away in one of the three-storms-a-week blizzards a while back. [I'll stop whining now]

At the same time, I feel a whirlwind in the lives around me. A friend with an exciting new job. Another friend shocked to be released from his job. Yet another friend and his family struggling through the whirlwind of activity and emotion which accompanies the journey's home stretch. Surgeries, pregnancies, illness, divorces, changes, and moves. I watch them all from my computer screen inside Vander Well Manor. [Did I mention I was going to stop whining?]

I was struck, as I read today's chapter, of the contrast between Judah's experience and Israel's experience during this section of the historical timeline. Uzziah becomes king in Judah and rules for an impressive 52 years. Israel, on the other hand, becomes a revolving door of leadership. There is no clear royal line. It appears that, if you had the gonads to pull off an assassination, anyone had a shot at the throne. Of course, your reign might be as brief as Shallum because there were plenty of guys with gonads lining up in the queue to take their shot and off you.

One nation with a long, steady, even monotonous experience while next door there is a flurry of chaos and change. It reminds me today that there is a time for everything; a season for every purpose under heaven.

God, be near my friends who journey on a much different road than mine right now. Be near me on my own long, flat path as the experience that feels so different, and a bit lonely. Amen.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and gjs