Enjoy the Sun while it Lasts!
Well, the sun is shining and at last it feels like spring might be on its way! Don’t you just love this time of year? In fact, I love the British climate in general - the cycle of the changing seasons passing from winter to spring, summer to autumn. Winter feels like a time of purging, before new life bursts through in the spring bringing with it a general sense of well-being. As King Solomon wrote: “See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come ...” Song 2:11-12
These changing seasons find parallels in life too. After Sunday’s meeting, my son Joel and I went up to Lancaster to look at the Uni before I travelled back to Sheffield to teach on NewFrontiers Leadership Training. On the way there we passed near the town where I was at boarding school in the late 70’s and early 80’s and while I don’t feel very different, I realise that quite a few years have now passed under the bridge. It came to me that I was driving through places that I have known for over 40 years. Sadly, I am no longer a ‘spring-chicken’!
I’m sure you have heard people describe the stages of life in terms of the seasons, starting with spring through summer and autumn, ending in winter. I’d like to think of myself as in the summer of life (although my hair changed colour to grey while I was in ‘the spring’. I hope it doesn’t fall in the autumn!) and I hope to remain here (in the summer of life, not just Woking.) for some time but occasionally I am brought up short. The Good News Bible translates Psalm 90v12 in this way: “Teach us how short our life is, so that we may become wise.” The wise person makes the most of the time that they have because they know how quickly life passes. Even if we live beyond seventy, and of course there are no guarantees that we will, life feels short. As the Apostle James wrote, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14 What a great illustration: Life is like the morning mist. For this reason, the Psalmist prays that God will open his eyes to the brevity of life. Not to make him depressed about the fact that the end of life relentlessly draws nearer but so that he can make the most of the life God has given him.
What does this look like? Well, I guess it will be different for different people. And of course, not only does the overall pattern of life follow the seasons but at a much smaller level our personal lives go in seasons – seasons of singleness and marriage, seasons with and without children, seasons of need and plenty, seasons of joy and sadness, even seasons of spiritual joy and weariness & so on. For me, making the most of life is about focussing on and enjoying the important things – family, friends, church, (coffee?) and above all enjoying God. In the busyness of life I so easily neglect my private times with God which are a source of joy and strength.
So, as we enjoy the coming of spring, let’s enjoy all aspects of life, remembering that it passes quickly. Now, enough blog writing, I’m off to enjoy some coffee and I don’t have much time!