"To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. " Ecclesiastes 3:1

There are different seasons in this life from what we see in nature, and what we also experience spiritually as well. We long for the time of Spring for it brings forth the new buds of flowers and trees. As Spring time progresses, all of nature seems to come forth in a chorus as other stems and roots bring forth more varieties of flora, and deciduous trees begin to show their glory as well.

And then as we know, Summer comes just as the last leaves have extended, and the canopy of its foliage blankets the forest and valleys. We bask in its beauty and we let the 'dog days' of Summer overtake us.

But before we know it, the dream is almost over and suddenly all that was at its height just a moment ago, is now suddenly becoming aged. The bright viridian and emerald greens are now slowly becoming faded. What was once a carpeted olive and chartreuse is now gold, and orange, and rusted red. But somehow we have longed for this season because it echoes a deep wisdom and sorrow. But its not a sadness but rather its a remembrance of something that was always timeless.

We know that even this season has its limits though. We sense it as the darkened leaves rustle in the wind. We feel it in the chill at night and early morning. And just when we've watched as the barren trees have stood like lonely sentinels, the first frozen drops of ice and snow come. We've entered into the long night of Winter. We could despair but somehow we know that even this season has its rewards.

And so, just like the seasons that we experience in nature around us, we too bring forth our bud and fruit in its time. Just as Summer blankets its greenery around us, so we also bask in our accomplishments. And in our autumn months, we reflect back upon what we have done and what we have left undone. Perhaps and hopefully so; we have gained a heart of wisdom during this time and season.

And finally we all experience our Winter season. And somehow, we've been here perhaps many times before. It may seem like a long and arduous time. It may well be filled full of trial after trials. But if we would but stop and consider for a moment what we see around us as we gaze upon the fallen snow, we might sense something else. Perhaps as we walk near the old cottonwood or oak, we might sense that what was under the ground had become much stronger and sturdier.

There are the seasons in life that manifest themselves from youth through young adulthood. This season changes as we gradually mature with added responsibilities and age. As middle age comes and lengthens, one is in the autumn time of their life. And finally as the years draw nigh, and as the silver cord is close to being drawn, one's Winter season approaches, and with it comes an aged wisdom but also a weakening of the frame, but a deeper knowledge and anticipation of what is ahead. These seasons follow one's natural life; they are different from the spiritual seasons.

As there are seasons as seen in nature and one's individual life, so also there is a 'season' of the earth prophetically as it has been chronicled throughout its history and time. The earth has been showing its birth pangs now for several years as wars and rumors of wars continue, natural disasters are on the rise, and violence in the schools and around the globe are on the increase. We are sure ly in the later stages of the Winter season in the earth and its fury will rise to such an extent that many will lose hope and wonder if their lives are worth living. But just like the old oak and cottonwood whose roots grow deep in their Winter season, we too must draw deep from the well of everlasting water that flows from the throne of God.

Stephen Hanson