October 30, 2007 - We Trust the Seasons, Why Not God?


We Trust The Seasons, Why Not God?
By Jon Walker

Then the word of the Lord came to me, asking, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I replied, “I see a branch of an almond tree.” The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I watch over My word to accomplish it.” (Jeremiah 1:11-12 HCSB)

My favorite time of year is the fall. I’m energized by the cool weather, crisp air, colorful landscape, and the coming of SEC football. The season swells with holiday romance and the promise of peace on earth, good will toward man.

Ironically, fall also is the worst time of year for me, and I know I’m not alone in such sentiment. The promise of all good things violently collides with the reality of broken dreams and irretrievable relationships. Over the years, I’ve been to more family funerals and hospital waiting rooms between Oct. 1 and Jan. 1 than any other time of year. I feel relieved when the “ghost of Christmas” is truly past.

Yet, in even the worst of these moments, I wait for the signs of spring. I can’t say I always wait patiently or with God-infused grace, but God has given me a consistent reminder of his faithfulness: The seasons come and go as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow, and God set the seasons in motion as a way of saying, “Year in and year out, you trust the seasons to return, now trust me to be just as faithful.”

In a vision, God explained this to the poet Jeremiah:

“Then the word of the Lord came to me, asking, ‘What do you see, Jeremiah?’ I replied, ‘I see a branch of an almond tree.’ The Lord said to me, ‘You have seen correctly, for I watch over my word to accomplish it.’” (Jeremiah 1:11-12 HCSB)

More than likely, God chose the almond for his illustration because in Israel it is traditionally the first tree to bloom, signaling the arrival of spring. Jeremiah would know it as the “watch tree” because it was the tree you watched as you waited for the season of new life.

As God teaches Jeremiah, there is good-natured humor in his play on words (more evident in the Hebrew). In a sense, the exchange goes like this:

- God of all creation: Jeremiah, what do you see?

- Jeremiah: I see a branch from the “watch” tree.

- God of all creation: That’s right! Use it as a reminder that I “watch” over my word, that I am constantly at work whether or not you can see what I’m doing.

The ebb and flow of the seasons are greeting cards from God, reminding us that things are not always as they seem. We tend to live by sight and not by faith, but God is patiently teaching us to do it the other way around – live by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV)

What now?

· Trust the one who created the seasons – We trust the seasons to return every year; the challenge is to trust the one who created the seasons. God spoke the world into existence; he hung the moon and the stars; he spoke you into your mother’s womb; he is active in your life, even if you don’t see or understand what he’s doing. If you truly believed that, how would you respond differently to your circumstances?

· Keep your hope in God, not what you see – A tree may appear barren in winter, but that doesn’t mean it’s not alive. That’s why we call it the dead of winter! Trust in God and not your sight: “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” (Romans 8:24-25 NIV) God says the Spirit will help us in our weakness. Pray, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”

· You don’t have to understand – Read this sentence three times: “The Truth is not dependent on my ability to understand what is going on.” (OK, go back and really repeat it three times!) Let God interpret the facts; let him explain the situation. Meanwhile, focus on God and not on your limited ability to understand events or circumstances. “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV)

· Spring is coming – This season in your life will change. There will be new life. Remind yourself that spring is coming. When you feel anxiety about the holidays or dreariness during winter, explain to someone else that spring is coming. Jesus did walk out of the tomb on the third day; he is resurrected and alive, and if he has conquered death, he’s got a handle on any situation you are facing.

© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.