fruit in its season
It’s been a little while since I’ve written here. My little writing hiatus lasted throughout all of the summer months (which wasn’t intentional… but I believe is no coincidence).
Southern California had its first good rain this weekend, in my opinion marking the true beginning of fall.
Maybe it’s the fog misting my face and the crisp air settling in my lungs… but something about the change of weather completely changes my frame of mind. I begin to be more contemplative and introspective, and often feel my head getting caught in those low hanging clouds. Hence my sudden motivation to write this post.
I’ve had some thoughts simmering in the recesses of my mind for some time now, and only recently I’ve had the chance to sort through them and attempt to turn the fragmented ideas into something more cohesive. These thoughts I’ve been mulling over happen to be about seasons, so now as fall is upon us, it seemed like the perfect time to come out of writing hibernation.
Have you ever thought about seasons? Deeply considered them? God could have made the earth function without them, had He chosen to. Yet our world—and our lives—occur in a cyclical manner. While I don’t presume to know why He designed the world this way, I can’t help but recognize there is purposefulness in His choice to do so.
I love seasons. Or, more truthfully, the idea of seasons. (This isn’t my first time discussing seasons: I wrote about relational seasons in this post.) I love knowing that there are patterns in life, and that changes tend to have purpose. However, it is more difficult to embrace the practical implications of living constantly rotating lives.
One of my favorite passages in scripture is found in Leviticus. It’s at the end of the Old Testament book, when the Lord is laying out the blessings/punishment for obedience/disobedience. Here are a few verses:
If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall last to the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last to the time for sowing. And you shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land securely. I will give you peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid. (Leviticus 26:3-6)
This chapter is brimming with concepts I could discuss for the rest of my life. But what I want to zero in on today is the seasonal implications of farming.
First, I’d like to point out that blessings involve work. Yes, there is peace. Yes, there is rest. But there is also labor involved. I have a serious lack of farming experience. Though from what I can tell, it’s not easy, but it’s rewarding. To believe that the Lord’s blessing for your obedience will be a reduced workload takes away from a beautiful truth: we’re designed for meaningful work.
But that’s not my main point here. I’m here to talk about seasons.
When we ignore the fact that there are cycles, rhythms, and seasons in our lives, we can easily set unrealistic or unhealthy expectations for ourselves, our situations, and those living amongst us.
In my own life, these unreasonable expectations tend to show up in one of two ways: either in the type of work I’m doing, or in the fruit that I’m anticipating to come from the labor.
Am I doing the right work? Sometimes, the seasons have changed… but my efforts don’t adapt. Maybe I’m hanging on to a certain ministry that the Lord has being moving me away from. Maybe I’m investing in someone in the same exact way I have been for two years… while they’ve changed, my approach to friendship hasn’t. Maybe it’s even work in my own relationship with the Lord: I’m stuck in the same routines, but I’m no longer growing.
Times change. What worked well yesterday may not be what the Lord has called us to today. I’ve been reminded of just how important it is to draw near to Him and listen. When we’re sensitive to the Holy Spirit, it’s easier to recognize when the time of threshing is over, and when it’s time to move to the grape harvest.
Am I looking for the fruit specific to the season? Another way unfeasible expectations manifest themselves is in the fruit itself. I may be threshing as I ought to be… but I’m waiting for wine to appear. And I’m shocked when I get wheat instead.
Rather than stemming from an unwillingness to change my work, this expectation is rooted in the false notion that God’s blessings never vary. It’s become clear to me that God is persistent with provision and grace… but these blessings show up differently depending on the seasons we’re in. It’s easy to forget how big God is, and assume that He will always reveal Himself in the same ways. He promises to provide—and does—but the manifestations of His provision vary as the seasons shift.
Relationships, careers, ministry… none are exempt from experiencing the effect of these faulty expectations.
So whether we’re experiencing a new season or are enduring a long-lasting one, let’s prayerfully evaluate where we are. And if our expectations don’t align with the reality of that current season… let’s adjust accordingly: working as the season requires, accepting the resulting fruit with gratitude. God knows what He’s doing. Let’s trust Him, and embrace the seasons as they come.