Anyone watch the Olympic closing ceremony last night? Maybe the athletes and 80,000 spectators present in the stadium enjoyed it, but it did not make for riveting television. Not a patch on the opening ceremony, certainly.
But the games are over. London 2012 is history. Britain will live with an “Olympian hangover” for a while yet, the commentators reckoned, and they are probably right. The elation of the event, and the mass outpouring of adrenalin that accompanied it, is gone. Back to clearing up, after which “life as normal”. Wonder if Britain will cope.
Life is lived in seasons. Summer cannot last for ever. Nor will winter. Life is a series of experiences strung together with the enevitable transitions that connect one with another.
Life is changing for us – as in me and my family – too. After 27 years in Spain, we are in the process of moving to the UK for 2 years. Our own “closing ceremony” is over and we are living in the aftermath, the “what now” of a new season.
Ecclesiastes says “there is a time for everything”. (Now I would be inclined to dispute that, as I think there are some things that should never ever be done.) But anyway… it is certainly true that there are seasons in our lives. Fiercely held views of the past can give way to a different understanding of the world around us. Strong convictions about where God wants us and what he wants us to be doing can mature with time, develop, or change quite radically. This is not a sign that we are somehow out of God’s will, or have somehow lost our grip on what his purpose is for us. It is quite natural as we “keep in step with the Spirit” and he moves us on, either geographically or in ministry.
All of the major biblical characters evidence these changes in seasons. Abraham was moved out of Ur and into Canaan. Jacob had to accept a move to Egypt where he met up again with his son Joseph, who had certainly experienced a few changes in life! David’s faithfulness as a young shepherd led to his appointment later as king of Israel. Paul no doubt found his spells in prison frustrating – he must have missed his apostolic role, founding new communities of followers of the Messiah and discipling leaders – but a good number of the epistles that make up our New Testament are the result. And Jesus himself had to leave his carpenter’s workshop and step out into the unknown.
We need to learn to recognize these seasons and embrace them, with all the changes they bring – the destabilizing process and initial insecurity of leaving the old, the excitement and rush of adrenalin as we move into something new. God is committed to us, and to bringing good and lasting fruit from our lives. He is perfectly capable of guiding us through these times. So if you are in such a time, relax, hold his hand tight, and enjoy the ride!
Now all I need to do is follow that advice myself. Watch this space…