Here in the Midwest we love our seasons. We welcome the warmth and brightness of spring, we celebrate the long hot days and suntans that summer brings, we long for the cozy cool rituals that fall offers, and the promise of snow and customs in winter. While not every season is loved by all, each is important to the next and prepares the way for the one to follow. We gain our perspective of seasons through calendars, textbooks, and experience, understanding that winter will start to release its hold somewhere around March; summer will show up somewhere around June and wave goodbye in September.
I’ve often found myself wishing for a calendar for my own life—an outline for how long I could expect certain seasons to persist—something that could help me make sense of my surroundings. Many of us hope for clarification amid our seasons of uncertainty, loneliness, loss, or waiting. Somewhere in our hearts we feel the quiet reminder, assuring us that God has a plan, but sometimes that still, quiet voice can be rather challenging to hold onto.
We learn of Samuel the prophet and the impact of his life for the Lord in I and II Samuel. Samuel was born to Hannah after a promise in prayer committing to the Lord that she would return the child to His house to serve for the rest of his life. Every time I hear this story I find myself wondering how Samuel felt about his mother’s decision to leave him. She made a promise in the heat of emotion and the Lord took her up on it. Now Samuel was growing up without his mother and father, in the Lord’s house, surrounded by inconsistency in leadership and focus.
It is important to understand that God utilizes every season in your life, your spring and your winter, to develop you and grow you into the person He has designed you to be. Sometimes the lessons are simple; sometimes they teach us to think right; sometimes they shed the old ways so that new can come in; sometimes they hurt and sometimes they heal. But no matter what, they present an opportunity for us to be transformed into someone a little more like Him.
Samuel’s time in the house of the Lord was an important building block for the foundation of his future ministry. Early on he learned the value of hearing and recognizing the voice of God. While the people around him were living lawless lives, speaking untruths, and irreverently handling the presence of the Lord, Samuel learned to listen and obey when God spoke. He grew familiar with His voice and established himself in the Lord. The importance of knowing the voice of the Lord and responding appropriately were essential to his future and the future of the people of God.
In the house of the Lord, Samuel learned that when the Lord, the ultimate authority, spoke and gave him direction to speak, he was responsible to communicate that message to whomever God intended. High Priest, kings, rebellious people. When God said speak, Samuel spoke. Under God’s authority, Samuel had authority. Under the Lord’s direction, Samuel directed.
Without understanding and submitting to the order God put in place, Samuel would have simply been another man serving in the house of God. When he learned the importance of submitting completely to the order God had set in place, he could fully operate in the power God gave him. The lessons we learn in our seasons of life are meant to shape us, push us, and grow us. Like Samuel, left in a situation he did not choose, we too are responsible to decide what we will make of these moments or years.
Learn His voice. Before Samuel could be the leader the Lord called him to be, he first had to learn how to hear the Lord.
Learn the importance of God’s order, the scary word of submission. Samuel had no power of his own. Everything he ever did was directly connected to the fact he was submitted to God above all else. Even his ministry was essentially teaching the people of Israel the importance of submission, realigning them when they fell out of order, and speaking blessing and curse over those who did not heed those warnings.
We may not be able to see when our worlds will change, when our situation will turn, when our moment will come, but we can trust God’s process and establish ourselves in the fact that He is God and He is working it all for good. Learn what you can in every season of your life. Stay faithful, even when it seems dark and cold outside. Trust Him, even when you feel lonely or abandoned. Honor Him, even in your frustration. Choose Him when you have peace and joy.
He has given us these seasons for our good.
Olivia Dummer is a student in Blue Springs, Missouri where Jason Huckaby is her pastor. She writes and keeps an inspirational blog hoping to encourage others and share what she’s learned about God.