New Hope Notes
When Seasons Change
Pastor Wayne Cordeiro
Life is all about change. We all experience change but do we like it? Generally speaking….No! But life is all about change. In fact, we are about change as well. Just think of it, we lose about 150-200 strands of hair every day (some of us more!) but each day they are replaced with others. Change...it’s simply a reflection of the progression of life:
Little girls grow to be è
Beautiful young ladies who become è
Loving wives and mothers and then, as the men know, they become è
On the other hand….
Little boys grow to be è
Bundles to hormones who grow intoè
Bigger bundles of hormones and eventually turn into è
Grumpy old men!
Solomon, a man who had everything anyone could ever want but became unsatisfied towards the end of his life, writes about this when he reflects back on his life:
"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance... God has made everything beautiful for its own time." (Eccl. 3:1-4, 11)
What Solomon is telling us in this passage is that when God created us and life, He laid it out as a progression, and created a season for all things. Life is full of contradictions. Why? Because God built transitions into life. Unfortunately, you may not have any control over what seasons you’ll experience or what kind of storms you’ll face during the transitions but you do have control of how you respond to those changes. From that respect…
1. Change should be MANAGED, but not MANIPULATED.
We need to learn to manage the changes in our lives, and not try to manipulate the changes that God has planned for us. What helps me when I’m in a season of change is asking myself whether I trust God with His future and plan for me…including His timing. What often happens is that we say we trust God and His plans but then we try to impose our own timing on the situation, but we need to…
"Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what He has made crooked? Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God.” (Eccl. 7:13-14)
Solomon is writing this to urge us to accept our situation, not to try to change or avoid it. WE can bring ourselves into harmony with His plans or operate in dissonance with it. Go with Him; you may not understand everything but go with it. Remember…
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” (Prov. 3:5-6)
When we try to manipulate things in life, we may miss out on what God had planned for us because the best place for us to learn forgiveness, humility and love is in the classroom of change, and of life. Remember: there is a purpose for every process and there is a reason for every season.
When I was a judge, it was apparent to me that who a person was when they came out of prison was determined by what they chose to do when they were in prison. The same is true for us; who we are when we get out of a transitional season is determined by what we do when we’re in the transition. How much do you trust God? “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11). Manage your time well.
Do you love the Lord? Do you trust Him with all your heart? Oftentimes we want to manipulate the decisions but don’t! Because if you do, you’re prone to errors and to make mistakes.
· Don't make PERMANENT decisions based on TEMPORARY conditions.
If you feel like you’ve lost hope, I have a word from the Lord, “Quitting is not an option!” "So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up" (Gal. 6:9).
“At the right time…” When is that? We don’t know but God does. And if you follow His command, you will reap the harvest. So you see the first thing you should remember during seasons of change is to manage the change, and not try to manipulate it. Then the second thing to remember is…
2. Focus on your FAITH not your FRUSTRATIONS.
We all want a life of peace but it doesn’t seem like that’s God’s intention. Why? Probably because God knows better. God knows when we get comfortable, we tend to start to get lazy, slide on things, and fall away. As they say: The toughest test is not of poverty but that of prosperity.” This saying calls attention to the fact that it is perhaps when we are successful and comfortable that we are most vulnerable to forgetting our dependence on God:
"You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not…Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” (Deut. 8:2, 11-14)
Notice that it says here, “…you will forget the Lord,” not, “may.” If you feel like you’ve been wandering in the desert for 40 years, maybe it’s all to draw you nearer to Him.
You see, some people think that the purpose of life is elusive or complicate but it’s really very simple: It’s for us to worship Him – not to make money, to accumulate things, or what we do for a living…it’s just to worship Him. Maybe our country (and the world actually) is suffering such bad times with the economic downturn and such because God is testing our hearts. Maybe He’s testing how much we really trust and revere Him:
"I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere Him." (Ps. 33:11)
We know that God has our best in mind but we need to ask ourselves how much do we trust Him and how much do we love Him. Where our first reminder is to manage our changes rather than try to manipulate them, and our second reminder is to trust in God and rely on our faith rather than allow our frustrations to get the better of us, the last reminder to keep in mind in seasons of change is…
3. Be GRATEFUL rather than GRUMBLE.
During seasons of change (and always), we need to be thankful and grateful for all that we have and all that God has provided, rather than discontent or grumbling about our circumstances. "I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil – this is the gift of God" (Eccl. -13 NIV).
What is the gift of God? The simple things in life are gifts from God: to eat, to drink, meaningful work, a rainbow, the sunset, friends and family. These are all gifts from God that, for the most part, are unaffected by our circumstances. Despite what may be occurring around us, we need to have the peace of God within us:
Life is full of change. In fact, life IS change. And while oftentimes change can be unsettling and turbulent, when we keep things in the right perspective and work through the change, God can redeem that change for His purposes. So when you’re going through seasons of change, remember that change should be managed and not manipulated, or we miss out on what God has in store for us through that change. We must focus on our faith, not on our frustrations since we know that God causes everything to work together for good for those who love Him and we need to be grateful, rather than grumble during our circumstances because God is in complete control of our future if we yield our will to His and let His peace reign in our hearts…when seasons change.
1. Name some seasons of change that you’ve had to deal with or that you think others should be aware of (e.g., getting a job, losing of job).
2. Share about a time when you tried to manipulate a change versus manage it and what happened in each case.
3. What happens when you make a permanent decision based on temporary conditions? Provide examples.
4. What scriptures suggestions would you make to someone who needs to rely on their faith to keep their frustrations in check?
5. What habits can you adopt to ensure that you’re practicing an attitude of gratefulness and contentment versus grumbling and discontent?