I love this time of year, when tiny buds are starting to appear on trees and the crocuses and daffodils are blooming. To say I’m not just as keen on the change from summer to winter would be an understatement. The lovely long days of summer, staying light until after ten at night, lulls me into a comfortable space. I want it to stay that way.
Why is it that so many of us struggle with change? One of the most difficult thing can be recognising and accepting when a ‘season’ of your life is coming to an end, and a new one is about to begin. Sometimes, even when we do recognise what is happening, we are reluctant to let the change happen. We feel safe in our little comfort zones.
In nature, the purpose of every season is growth, maturity and, ultimately, fruitfulness. And so it is in the life of a follower of Jesus.(Mustard Seed Blog)
Every season is important, both in nature and in the life of a Christian. For example, it might seem as though everything has died in winter, but underneath the surface of the cold, hard ground, bulbs are growing, which could not have grown in the heat of Summer. The bare trees might look dead, but have you ever considered the growth that is taking place inside the trunk of the tree? It’s incredible!
Perhaps you are in a ‘winter’ period of life at present. Spring will come again, and having gone through the necessary growth in winter, you will be able to withstand the heat of summer, and in due season your life will be all the more fruitful. Perhaps you are in a wonderful, fruitful ‘summer’ of life; you sense a change coming and are reluctant to let go.
I have been looking at the life of Paul, and how he responded to change.
Time for Change – Letting Go
The Apostle Paul experienced life seasons, just like us. I wonder if Paul felt his ministry was in a ‘summer season’ in the story in Acts 19, during which time he spent three months teaching in the synagogue at Ephesus, and then suddenly, there was a change. (If you have time, I’d encourage you to read all of Acts chapter 19)
“Then Paul went to the synagogue and preached boldly for the next three months, arguing persuasively about the Kingdom of God. But some became stubborn, rejecting his message and publicly speaking against the Way. So Paul left the synagogue and took the believers with him. Then he held daily discussions at the lecture hall of Tyrannus.”Acts 19:8-9 (NLT)
The Lord had opened the door for Paul, giving him the wonderful opportunity to preach in the synagogue at Ephesus. Eventually though, the men who rejected Paul’s message made it clear that he wasn’t welcome; speaking out publicly against him and the gospel. There isn’t a lot of detail with regard to what happened, verse 8 simply says, “so Paul left the synagogue…”
He could have stayed; argued for the gospel. He could have prayed, asking God to remove the obstacle these men had become. But Paul must have perceived in his heart that this season-end was from the Lord. He simply obeyed the Holy Spirit’s leading and left that place.
Now, if I were Paul, I think I would have seen that time in the synagogue as a great blessing; a ‘summer’ season. What an opportunity, to spent three whole months preaching to spiritually hungry people, building into their lives. It must have hurt to have to leave. I can just imagine the Lord smiling; saying, “Paul, you haven’t seen anything yet!”
YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ANYTHING YET!
God had a plan! Paul had no idea of the rich ‘summer fruit’ that was about to come about in abundance as a result of his simple, understated obedience.
In the very next verse, we find Paul holding meetings in the lecture hall of a Gentile teacher named Tyrannus.
This ministry continued for two years and Paul taught there every day, and the gospel spread throughout the “province of Asia” (modern-day Turkey). God worked through Paul in powerful, supernatural ways and many people were healed physically. And, Paul wrote the letters of 1 and 2 Corinthians during this time in the city of Ephesus.
“This went on for the next two years, so that people throughout the province of Asia—both Jews and Greeks—heard the word of the Lord. God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles. When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and evil spirits were expelled.”Acts 19:10-12 (NLT)
Every season in our lives is important and necessary. We need to just let go and entrust the next season to God, whether summer to winter, or winter to spring. He is always faithful.