Last week, during the prayer time following a small group Bible study, I sat with several other moms as we discussed the challenges of having young children in the home. As many of you know, these challenges are numerous. While we were wrapping up, one mom reminded us that this is just a season. As time passes, this season (with its many challenges) will fade.
Though we all took comfort in this reminder, I felt somewhat unsettled inside. Over the following days, I continued to feel ill at ease with the idea of comforting ourselves with the thought that our time with young children is a season that will soon pass. As I prayed about it, I realized why I felt this way.
If you’re getting ready to close this post because you’re not a mom, please don’t. What I’m about to say applies to you, too!
The importance of today’s season
Earlier this year I wrote about why today matters for our kids. In short, I discussed why we need to take advantage of today’s opportunities instead of just working to survive today and plan for tomorrow. Apparently I forgot to consider that today also matters for us!
One of the biggest problems with us encouraging ourselves with “this is just a season” (whether the season is motherhood, a battle with cancer, a period of unemployment, etc.) is that we’re taking comfort in the knowledge that things will eventually change instead of taking comfort in God.
The psalmist didn’t say, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for this is just a season that will pass.” He said in Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (emphasis mine). God was with him. God is with us, too. He doesn’t wait on the other side of a challenging season; He passes through it with us (Isaiah 43:2). Let’s receive His comfort instead of taking comfort in the belief that things will soon change.
This brings us to a second problem with encouraging ourselves with “this is just a season.” When we focus on the season changing, we’re likely not very focused on today. Scripture gives us every reason to believe that God is using today’s challenges to form us into the people He desires for us to be. Consider Joseph and the years he spent as a slave and in prison before rising to power in Egypt. Consider David, the youngest son of his father, who had to run for his life from King Saul before becoming king himself. Consider Job. Consider the prophet Jeremiah. God used seasons of challenges to refine these individuals. He’ll do the same for us if we’ll let Him.
A third problem with encouraging ourselves with “this is just a season” is that we’re assuming that next season will be less challenging. Sometimes this isn’t the case. If you’re facing a chronic disease for which there is no cure, then this season will last for the rest of your life. If you’re facing financial hardships, you may have to deal with the repercussions of debt or bankruptcy for the next decade or longer. If you’re struggling because you have young children in the home, you may find that the preteen or teen years are even more difficult than the infant and toddler years were.
We don’t have to love the challenges of our current season or avoid being excited for the future. However, if our satisfaction or ability to cope is dependent on the season changing, then we’re going to be in quite the conundrum if it doesn’t change or if the next season is even more difficult. It is imperative that we draw upon the strength available to us from the Lord and learn to be content whatever the circumstances (Philippians 4:11-13). Let’s trust that, regardless of what season we are in, God has given us everything we need to live a Godly life (2 Peter 1:3).
I imagine I will find myself tempted to take comfort in the hope that “this is just a season” during the weeks, months, and perhaps even years to come. I hope that when this happens I will embrace my current season with open arms as I turn to the Lord for comfort and strength.
Do you find it difficult to embrace challenging seasons? How do you remember to take comfort in the Lord instead of in the hope that the present season will eventually change?
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