You may reflect on your life and wonder what kind of season you are experiencing right now. I do not mean the four earthly seasons—spring, summer, fall, and winter—changing within a year, but the spiritual seasons that you may experience in your life as a believer. Just as natural seasons change, the same thing happens in our spiritual lives.
Each season has its own set of characteristics, which bring us new experiences, challenges, and blessings. It is important that we recognize the season we’re in now – for growth in our faith and relationship with God. Here are the four spiritual seasons as explained by Union Church of Manila, a Christian church in Makati.
Everything seems to be new and blooming during the spiritual season of growing. It begins when the seed of God’s Word has been implanted within our hearts, and when we first come to realize that He has come as our Savior.
We can compare the season of growing to spring when we feel fresh and adventurous. We might be motivated to do things that we have never done, or go to the places we have never been. As the Apostle Paul says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). God is inviting us to do new things during this season – to unfold the path He has laid for us.
We may experience some turbulent weather during the season of pruning – for the purpose of reaching greater maturity. It may bring uncomfortable feelings due to the changes from last season that are now growing bigger. Nonetheless, there is no need to feel uneasy, for that is God’s way of helping us appreciate the calm times that much more.
As the writer of 1 Peter 1:6-7 says, “In all this, you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” Hang in there during this season, for it will not last forever.
Similar to the season of fall, the spiritual season of wilderness brings a colder breeze to our warm hearts from summer, which could be very confusing, especially after feeling some sense of stability from the last season. We may also experience some kind of loss during this season of wilderness, just like how the trees lose their leaves during fall. Such a loss could be negative, like when losing a job, or positive, like when leaving a bad habit behind.
Whatever it may be, the important thing here is to let ourselves not stray away from God. The important thing is to be patient and to know that everything we are experiencing is in preparation for the better things He has in store for us (John 13:7). Keep in mind the verse of Romans 8:18 that says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” God is with us in the wilderness and He is often bringing us to a deeper intimacy with Him through our suffering.
The last season would be harvest season when it is time for you to reap the benefits of the seeds that have been planted during the spring. The experiences you went through in the previous seasons will help develop you into a better person. However, before that can happen, you may experience a total winter, similar to the way trees and plants freeze up. You may feel numb as if you do not feel God’s presence. But take heart, your roots are going deeper during this time so that no wind can bring you down.
This is often an unpleasant but necessary experience, so that we may learn how to take good care of the fruit God gives us. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
Remember that we experience these different spiritual seasons because it is God’s way of maturing and deepening our faith in Him. There is no need to worry about the discomfort we may feel between seasons. God is always there to walk with us through it all. As Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”