Seasons, they come and go—winter, spring, summer, fall, single, married, young, old. We welcome the happy seasons, but merely endure the sad and hard ones, begging for change in the midst of that which is difficult. Do you agree that no matter the “season” we face, there is always room for grace and gratitude? In sickness, broken relationships, financial trouble, even death—do grace and gratitude bloom bright in those seasons of your life?
My friend, grace and gratitude are welcome in every season, and they are especially necessary in the hard ones. There have been times in my life when the cold and dreary bite of the winter season has frozen my heart. All that was left were bitter words that cut like icicle daggers. In other seasons, my heart blossomed with radiant flowers of sunflower-like hues. Peace and kindness ruled my words and actions, and the crown jewels of my heart sparkled from God’s grace and an attitude of gratitude. This tells me that I’m inconsistent in my seasons. In “some things” I bloom and sparkle, in “other things” I bite and cut. But God’s Word is clear.
For everything there is a season …
Ecclesiastes 3:1 begins, “for everything.” What exactly is everything? Everything includes all things. All things have a season—an appointed time. And the phrase, “every matter under heaven,” can be translated “every purpose under heaven.” This tells me that all things that touch my life and yours have purpose. God wastes nothing, He makes no mistakes, and He works in our lives with intentionality. We don’t always determine our seasons in life, we must simply respond to them with wisdom, remembering God’s providence in our lives.
So where do grace and gratitude come in?
The list that the writer of Ecclesiastes penned after the opening verse says nothing of grace and gratitude. He only uses comparisons of good and bad—a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted, a time to kill, and a time to heal, etc.
In verses 9-13 of this passage, however, we read these words:
What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
These verses remind us of God’s sovereign grace over time.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time.”
The Lord knows the number of our days (we do not), and He gives us “business” to do while we are on earth. Just as a budding flower begins as a seed that must die in the dark earth, so many of the most beautiful treasures in our lives bring pain before beauty bursts forth. The business God gives us on earth always prepares us for transformation—we are being groomed and pruned as daughters of the Most High. What a privilege.
Can you think of a season in your life that was once distorted with pain, but was an appropriate tool God used to shape and transform you into a work of beauty?
These verses also remind us that a joyful heart is the most effective pathway to contentment, satisfaction, and peace for every season.
“I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live.”
A joyful heart is a grateful heart, and there is nothing better than that. Peace and contentment find their home in thanksgiving. When gratitude springs from our lips, we are reminded of God’s favor and faithfulness through all time, and this helps us not just endure, but embrace the business of our season.
Can you think of five things for which you are thankful today in the season you are in?
Here’s what I want you to do:
- Recognize the season you are in.
- Rehearse gratitude by repeating the five things for which you are thankful back to the Lord daily. Say, “Lord, this season of (Name your season) I am in is (describe your season), but I am thankful for (name 5 things).”
- Remind yourself of a past season in which the Lord turned pain into a thing of beauty in His time.
- Read the verses below and ask the Lord to focus your thoughts and heart on the fact that He is transforming you into a groomed and pruned daughter of the Most High.
Remember during the season of thanks, the season of our Savior, and in all the seasons of life, that a bit of God’s grace and a heaping dollop of gratitude can and will help you embrace whatever season you’re in.
Next week I’ll share a story of uprooting and planting in my own life and the role grace and gratitude played in birthing a new thing in me. To prepare for next week’s devotion, read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. Think of old things God is trying to uproot in your life right now, and new things He wants to birth in you.
With grace and gratitude,