February 15, 2017

For the most part, I like the changing of the seasons. In springtime the whole earth buzzes with hope and promise as new plant and animal life explodes! Summertime brings the maturing of this young plant and animal life in the warmth of the sun and nourishing rains. Refreshing cool breezes, full baskets of colorful harvested produce, and preparation for the cold winds of winter come with autumn. Even the barrenness of winter and glistening of snow add a special realm of beauty to the world.

Human life, too, has its seasons.

As an obstetric nurse, much of my work revolves around those in the spring or summer of their lives. Most of the time, my work is happy as new life springs forth into the loving arms of a welcoming mother and father. But, sometimes, a very young life is mysteriously taken, and we ask why.

Some of my work revolved around a woman and family in the season of autumn. A diagnosis of cancer had brought them to the hospital. Cancer is everywhere in her body. She still has children to care for, a husband to grow old with, dreams to fulfill, and she screams, “I am not ready to die!” But her body is slowly succumbing to the inevitable. Why?

I heard one in the winter of life asking, “I am old, a burden and ready to die; why does the Lord take someone so young, with so much life yet to live, and leave me?”

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die …” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a).

Genesis tells us that in the beginning, everything God made was “good.” Dr. David Menton, former professor at Washington University School of Medicine, teaches and believes that our bodies were really designed to live forever. But then came the fall of man, bringing sin, disease, struggle, and death. Because of God’s great love for us, He could not leave us in the broken, fallen state that we were in. That is why He sent His Son to become sin for us and to give us life eternal.

Several years ago, South Dakota endured one of the worst droughts that I can remember. The hot, dry summer winds scorched everything. The crops were a total disaster. There were prairie fires and much vegetation perished. Such was the case for our little acreage. Many trees died—even the hardy lilac bushes struggled. As the following year approached, many people cautiously made garden and farming plans, wondering if the drought would continue. But to our thankful relief, the spring rains came and replenished the earth. We anxiously waited and watched to see what vegetation survived. One little lilac bush that I thought was surely dead sprang forth with a few tiny flowers and leaves. I was amazed and was beautifully reminded of Dr. Menton’s lecture. God really did design His creations to live forever! Every part of creation wants to live! We, the crown of His creation, want to live forever. And those whom God has created, redeemed, and called will live forever!

We may never have the answer to the “why” questions of this life. But we do have the reassurance in God’s Word and His Holy Spirit to comfort us through all the seasons of this life.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9a NIV).

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

Amazing grace how sweet the sound—

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found,

Was blind, but now I see.

Through many dangers, toils and snares

I have already come;

His grace has brought me safe thus far,

His grace will lead me home.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,

And mortal life shall cease,

Amazing grace shall then prevail,

In heaven’s joy and peace.

(Text: John Newton, 1725-1807; Public domain)