Seasons of Purpose

“Oh, that I were as in the months of old,
    as in the days when God watched over me,
when his lamp shone upon my head,
    and by his light I walked through darkness,
as I was in my prime,
    when the friendship of God was upon my tent…
because I delivered the poor who cried for help,
    and the fatherless who had none to help him.
The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me,
    and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.
I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;
    my justice was like a robe and a turban.
I was eyes to the blind
    and feet to the lame.
I was a father to the needy…
my roots spread out to the waters,
    with the dew all night on my branches…

“Men listened to me and waited
    and kept silence for my counsel.
After I spoke they did not speak again,
    and my word dropped upon them.
They waited for me as for the rain,
    and they opened their mouths as for the spring rain.
I smiled on them when they had no confidence,
    and the light of my face they did not cast down.
I chose their way and sat as chief,
    and I lived like a king among his troops,
    like one who comforts mourners.” Job 29:2-4,12-16a,19,21-25

Job, in his agony and isolation, remembers his former life of fruitfulness, and longs for it again. His friendship with God manifested itself in wisdom, compassion, and gracious living among all, and he rues his present condition that has separated him from such influence. Oh, that he could go back to those days!

But we never can go back, and life seasons sometimes take hard turns. We are unwittingly detoured by health, financial, relational, or practical circumstances beyond our control, and we find ourselves in places and positions we would not choose. Sometimes it is age itself that creeps in and changes everything we have known. But sovereign God orders all of life, and appoints different seasons with varying intent, though always with an end of His glory. We may not be doing the same thing, but we serve and can honor the same worthy God. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

If we find ourselves complaining over present circumstances, or lost in reminiscence over past glory days, would we turn our eyes upward, open our hands, and ask, “What do You have for me now?” It is likely God is ushering in a new season. Our former experiences, along with changed venue or new challenges, equip us for fresh purposes in daily interactions and ministry. Rather than lollygag dwelling on what was, we can dive into what is with a whole, expectant heart. And God can produce as much or more fruit! As for Job, consider all we have gleaned through the ages from his writings, which would not exist but for his suffering! Some things must die for novel growth to bud, even in frozen ground, and seasons must pass for the new to arrive.

What causes reluctance to enter, or accept, a new season of life? Are there memories, identities, or significance known in the past which so occupy us we are unable to seize fresh purposes God has planned?

Father, make me a faithful steward of each season You give, valuing past and present for Your kingdom’s sake.

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