Times and Seasons
“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1
What would you say if you were asked the question, “What is better — wet or dry, rain or sun?” You might start thinking about the benefits that both give and perhaps about their drawbacks. You might ask questions like, “How hot will the sun be?” or “How much rain are you talking about?” In the end, one can simply say with the inspired Solomon, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” But let us explore some of the reasons that an all-wise God chose there to be both wet and dry and how that relates to the greatest and most important work God has given man — character building.
BETTER IN ITS PROPER TIME
I once had a conversation with a man who expressed to me some of his health challenges. He had been feeling weak and was fatigued all day long. After asking him about some of his habits of life, he shared with me that he would eat almost continually throughout the day, or as some of us call it — the one-meal-a-day plan. Immediately, I saw what part of his problem could be. I said to him, “Patrick, you are a farmer; what would happen if it was always raining, constantly watering your plants, with no break in between? Would your plants do well?” He said that they wouldn’t do well at all. When I asked him why, he said that though they needed the rain, they didn’t need it all the time, and they needed the sun too. I then said to him, “Even though food is good and we certainly need it, do you think that it could actually hurt our bodies if we are eating all the time?” He then got the point that, while our bodies need the strength that food brings, they also need time to process that food and rest from that processing. He happily reported several weeks later that his fatigue was gone after a more temperate and regular plan of eating.
Here at Red River Outpost, we have been getting a wonderful supply of rain and sun, both of which have their blessings and challenges. We just planted various small fruits and vegetables that have shallow root systems, so continuous sun can be challenging for them. Yet, with much rain, it is hard to plow and till the fields in order to prepare for more crops. The rain fills our cisterns supplying our home with water, but too much rain can cause flooding, leading to erosion and destruction of the crops.
So, when we think of the wet and the dry, the sun and the rain, we don’t say that one is good and the other is bad. We merely say that everything is good in its proper sphere. This is a very simple concept, but it has wonderful lessons for our characters.
In all of our lives, we have our periods of sunshine, where our entire path seems bright and pleasant. It seems like “the Sun of Righteousness” is all around us (Malachi 4:2). But then, the strong storms come in and we feel like the trees, trying to keep our roots in the ground to prevent us from being blown over! Or maybe it isn’t a strong storm that blows in, but rather many cloudy, cool, and drizzly days, when depression is constantly tempting us to enter under her shroud. It is then that the sunny days are so very attractive.
Noah and his family must have felt that way after 40 days and nights of rain. But God had a purpose in that rain, didn’t He? If you’ve ever traveled on a gravel road after many hot and dry summer days, you can see how easily dust is lifted into the air after a dry spell. Through the rain, these particles of dust and pollution brought on by sunny days are escorted down to the earth, making the air more suitable for both people and animals.
The moisture then holds that dust to the ground. In the same way, God desires to wash us with His rain and cleanse us from any impurities, just as the flood waters washed the earth of sin. He wants us to experience the cleansing that Naaman had after washing seven times in the Jordan River.
It is sometimes His desire for us to be in the middle of the waves like the disciples were in their little fishing boat, with all the waves crashing about them, in order to hear the voice of Jesus say, “Peace, be still!” Mark 4:39. The Lord has a purpose in both the clouds and the sun, and we will be greatly blessed if we can realize the blessing in each.
LESSONS FROM THE RAIN AND SUN
One thing that the sun does for plants that is often an unrecognized blessing is challenging the root systems of the plants to go deeper. Plants are much like people, in that if they don’t have to work as hard, they won’t. If the top layer of soil is continually moist and saturated, the plants may not feel the need to send deep roots into the ground. But if there are several hot and dry days, the top few inches of soil dries up and the plants realize that they need to send their roots deeper down to tap into the moist earth below. In the end, this gives the plants strong root systems, anchoring them better to the ground and thus preparing them for the many storms they may encounter. With those deeper roots, the plants are also made more drought resistant.
And so, much like the rain can represent trials, the sun can represent them as well. But the trials can cause us to strike deeper roots in Christ. When we begin to feel dry, we can start searching for where the water is.
It may not be God’s purpose at that point to satisfy us with rain from above, but rather, He may want to teach us that there is a deeper source from which we may draw. We may not always be able to have the outward circumstances that we want. We may be in a critical, harsh, upsetting environment, but we can always strike our spiritual roots deeper and find from the Lord forgiveness, faith, wisdom and more.
Even though our aim may be just simply looking for spiritual water, the end result will be a stronger hold on Christ that can withstand fierce wind and drought. This was Paul’s prayer for the church when he prayed, “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge.” Ephesians 3:17-18.
What is better then, wet or dry, rain or sun? As we have seen, both are necessary for the physical as well as the spiritual world. The Bible says, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18. We must be thankful for both and recognize the challenges of both, in order to put our time to the best use. God is also always looking out for our good and wants us to have what is necessary for our growth. He encourages us to, “Ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain. The Lord will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, grass in the field for everyone.” Zechariah 10:1. We may also say with Solomon, “Truly the light is sweet and it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun.” Ecclesiastes 11:7. In summary, remember that Christ is both “the light of the world” and the “fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” and He will give to you anything and everything you need. John 8:12, 4:14
Written by Robert Phillips
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by Permission All rights reserved.