Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us of the varying seasons of life. It also highlights that no season is the same and as we navigate these ever-changing chapters, we must adjust our sails as the winds of change blow through our lives.
In each of these seasons there comes a time to think differently. What worked in a season of calmer waters may not work the same in a season of challenge and we need to think differently. Proverbs 3:13 tells us that the one who finds wisdom and gains understanding is blessed. How then, do we think differently; with greater wisdom and understanding in this season and keep our lives in their usual rhythms?
Firstly, although the COVID-19 season has seen many tragedies across our world, it has also given us a glimpse into the design of our humanity. As we have been persevering through the turbulent waters of the global pandemic, we have seen the expression of innovative and creative thinking and the emergence of new rhythms of life that become our new ‘normal’. God created humanity, in His image, to be innovative and creative in exercising dominion and with God’s help we are living according to our design with imaginative and novel ideas (Ephesians 2:10).
Secondly, we can acknowledge that God has given every human being an incredible capacity for life. God has made our lives valuable and this knowledge is hard-wired into every soul (Psalm 139:14). In times of difficulty, we are rising up and protecting this gift of life. God’s wisdom and God’s perspective is shaping our thinking as we learn to think differently by nurturing what is so valuable; life. Our recreation looks different, our family interactions look different, our work looks different and our social lives look different. Everything we do is to protect what is precious in practical ways.
Thirdly, God calls us to community and instead of our churches shutting their doors, we have flung the doors wide open by thinking differently and we are still gathering (Matthew 18:20). Our churches are open as we innovatively do ‘church online’ in our homes and the message of Jesus is dropping into the ears of everyone who is tuned in or silently listening to the one and only message of hope. We are still a community but we got creative and we participate in innovative ways by thinking differently.
Fourthly we are learning to think differently by fine-tuning our sails to ensure we persevere with vigilance, resolve and endurance. God calls us to endure. In Romans 15:4 Paul tells us that God has shared His story with us, to teach and encourage us, so that as we endure, we have hope. It is also interesting that in verse 5 we are told that it is God who gives us encouragement and endurance. This is unique because hope is not just a ‘hope for the best’ but a sure and living reality. Yes, we are doing life differently but we are not adrift without the strength of God who helps us navigate these new seas by helping us endure. We are fine-tuning our lives for endurance in the strength of the strengthening Christ.
Finally, we have changed our thinking to embrace our sovereign God in ever greater ways; clinging to Him as our only enduring lifeline. We have always believed in God’s sovereignty, but when life is familiar, we often find ourselves steering our ships in our own strength. This season has revealed how fragile life is and we have had to change our thinking to accommodate this reality. Never have we been so aware of our need to understand that life is not sustained either in independence from, or isolation from God. God is the only sure thing, the only one in control; He is our mainstay (Isaiah 40:28). We are learning to live with this reality and it is a positive shift that locates us closer to the breast of our loving father (Isaiah 40:11).
Friends, as we close out for July, 2020, let’s press into our Sovereign God, seek His wisdom and understanding, embrace the gift of life, endure, think creatively and enjoy the new innovations that can come from a season of complexity.