In our previous Wisdom Note, we continued our series called The Cycles and Seasons of Life, The Celebration of Fall. This week we continue with moving on to be prepared for winter. If you miss any of our Wisdom Notes please go to the blog to read past newsletters.
The seasons of the year are not unlike the seasons in our lives. Growing up on an apple orchard, we became very familiar with the various seasons and what each season had in store for us. If we did not complete our task during the proper season, then it directly impacted the next.
During summer there was mowing to do and gardens to weed. Near the end of August, the apple harvest season started, which lasted until late October. This was definitely our busiest season of the year. It was all hands busy picking, sorting, and storing apples. We also had a roadside stand that needed to be attended as well as deliveries to health food stores across the state. We had to work very hard because even in good years, all income generated was barely enough to keep the 12 of us fed and clothed. In the bad years, it was slim pickings in every area of life. After working hard for an extended harvest time, we kept in mind that there would be some time for resting in the winter season. Growing up as a farmer, the cycles and seasons of life mean so much more.
You must also realize that during your entire lifetime, there will be many different cycles of seasons. Just because a particular season did not turn out as you expected, don’t let that control the entirety of your life. Each winter season is a time for reflection and planning while each new spring season gives you an opportunity to start new again.
This brings us to our trek for this week as we consider moving from fall to winter within the cycles and seasons of life and this section of our trek is titled…
Be Prepared for Winter
As certain as night will always follow day, every season of life will have a time of winter. There will never be an endless summer, nor a continual harvest in the fall. Winter can make its appearance during any season, as a brief reminder of its ultimate power. In mid-summer, while you are consciously tending your carefully growing crops, a winter-like storm in the form of hail and wind can momentarily descend upon you threatening to take away the fruits of your efforts.
Winter can make its threatening appearance during the season of planting and sprouting, the spring, and if you do not quickly respond to cancel its potentially devastating effect, the season of opportunity will be taken from you by one of the storms of life, leaving you with yet another full year of waiting. We certainly experienced this in several years when the apple blossoms were hit with a late frost. Winter can also prematurely appear during the season of harvest, the fall, just as you are about to reap the rewards of expended and extended human effort, and leave you with crops, or results in your work, which are of little value.
The first great lesson of life to learn is that winter will always come; not only during the time when the winter of cold, wind, ice, and snow are expected, but at other times also. Winter within your life can rear its cold winds and snow in the form of despair, loneliness, disappointment, or tragedy. It is winter when your prayers go unanswered or when the acts of your children young or old leave you shaken and stunned. It is winter of your life when the economy turns against you and when creditors come after you. It is winter when competition threatens or when a friend takes advantage of you. Winter comes in many forms, and at any time, both to the planter of crops as well as to the person in business or even to your personal lives.
You will be prepared if you have planted abundantly in the spring, guarded your crops carefully during the summer, and harvested massively during the fall. It is then that winter can be yet another season of opportunity. It can be a time for reflection, a time for reading, a time for learning, a time for planning, a time for gathering your strength for the coming spring, and a time for taking the comfortable shelter of rest and relaxation. It can be a time of great enjoyment and a time to be shared with those you love and with those with whom you have labored. It is a time of thanksgiving and a time for the sharing of life’s bountiful gifts. Winter is a time for being grateful, both for what you have, as well as for what you can yet achieve. Winter is a time for rest but not excessive rest. It is a time to enjoy the fruits of your labors but not a time for gluttony. It is a time for warm conversations but not a time for gossip. It is a time of gratitude but not a time for complacency. It is a time to be proud but not a time to be egotistical.
Keep in mind though that what you do with your time, with yourself, with your friends, and with your attitudes during the season of winter determines what you will do with the coming spring. You are meant to constantly improve your conditions, your results, and yourself. During winter you either improve or you regress, for never do you remain the same. If you do not improve, it is because you do not use your intelligence, your reasoning, and your full potential. Finally, what you do not use, you lose. Through lack of use, you may lose your intelligence, reasoning, potential, and strength. When lack of use or misuse, costs you these worthy human attributes, you predictably regress.
Again, it is one of God’s basic laws of life that demands either human progression or human regression.
When you are prepared for winter’s arrival, you can use the season to properly prepare for your next season. Take advantage of the time to prepare in a relaxed and non-hurried environment. Make wise choices so that when spring arrives, your plan will already be in place.
If you have not properly prepared, the arrival of winter is a time for regret and a time for sorrow. Having lacked the willingness to pay the pain price of earlier discipline, you will now pay the heavier pain price of regret. The burdens and chains of discipline will now seem insignificant when compared to the massive weights and cumbersome restraints of regret. Regret is an empty storehouse or bank account and will result in an empty kitchen when the coming fall is yet a full year away. Even with the arrival of spring, your efforts will be expended with an empty stomach and an empty purse. If you are prepared, winter is springtime in yet another form, but if you are not prepared; winter’s arrival is full of horror and uncertainty. Love and harmony give way to accusations and anger.
Too many people live their lives in this manner. They live on other people’s money and resources until there is no more available. Without attempting to paint too negative of a picture, think about your situation if you have not prepared in the previous seasons of your life. Coming to grips with the reality of a situation may be the catalyst you need for improvement in the next season.
The time to imagine the horrors of a winter for which you are unprepared is in the springtime, and in your mind. Let this picture illustrate for you the chilling winds, snow-blown fields, and ice-covered trees. Imagine and then experience in your mind’s eye the wailing of a hungry child, and the disappointment showing in the eyes of the ones you love. Emotionally experience the fumbling for excuses and apologies for your past mistakes. The fear that comes with a knock on the door, the phone calls, or the delivery of the mail. Anticipating these scenes in advance can provide the shock that moves you into the massive effort in the spring. It is those massive efforts that will prevent your horrified imaginings from becoming reality.
There is still more to consider about the winter seasons of life, but that will have to wait as we ponder these thoughts until next week’s Wisdom Notes. At that point, we will conclude our series on The Cycles and Seasons of Life.
Planting, nurturing, harvesting, and planning are all part of the cycles and seasons of life. It reminds me of Proverbs 24:27 where the wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon instructed us to, “Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house.”
You might think it would be wiser to build shelter first, but if you do that, then you will not have your planting done in time so that you can harvest in the fall. If you have a shelter, but no food, the winter nights will be long and cold, and you will be hungry. Plus there will be yet an entire cycle of the seasons to endure before the next food source arrives. There is a logical order to the seasons of life. As Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us, “For everything, there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”
All of us will face obstacles and hardships in life, but that does not change God’s immutable laws of planning, planting, nurturing, and harvesting. We will harvest what we plant. We cannot allow the obstacles and hardships to be an excuse for a meager harvest. We all know of those who have overcome massive mountains of opposition to produce a bountiful harvest in their lives.
When you grasp this concept, then you can achieve a rich and satisfying life that Jesus offers in John 10:10.
Next week’s Wisdom Notes we will finish the winter season of life and recap the series covering the cycles and seasons of life. Encourage your friends and family to join us on our 5-days a week podcast: Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.
We need to remain always vigilant in our quest for living productive and healthy lives as we navigate the unsure times of Covid-19 and its continued issues worldwide. Let each of us do our part.