The Apostle Paul once wrote to Timothy, his young, up and coming apprentice, about the need to be “instant in season, and out of season.” Since reading that verse over thirty-one years ago, this author has never forgot it.
In simple terms, the elder father-figure was telling his adopted son in the Faith to be a man for all seasons; to always be ready to preach the Word and to do the work of the Kingdom, regardless of circumstance, time, or surroundings – Sound advice for every Believer, especially in days like these.
All too often, Christians look at their circumstances and pray to God to remove either them from the difficult times, or remove the problems all together. However, to be a man or woman for all seasons would require us to look beyond the pain and open our heart to how God wants to use us, even in difficult times.
Some may have noticed that it’s been almost two weeks since my last blog. This brief respite has been one of those difficult times for my family. Although, he wasn’t exactly the same type of Paul to Timothy, last week we lost my Pop, my father-in-law.
Pop was elderly and ailing, but the timing of his passing was sooner than we expected. I grew up without a father figure for most of my youth. Since I married his daughter thirty years ago, he became my father in a very real sense.
It was only a year after becoming a Christian that he and his clan grafted me into their family vine. I grew in the things of the Lord and often depended on Pop for his wisdom and guidance. And it was in that freshly tilled ground of my new Believer’s heart that Pop sowed seeds of a fruitful life in Jesus. Perhaps one of the greatest lessons he taught me early on was the need to be ready to serve Yeshua regardless of the season.
Through his fatherly example, my Pop, like Paul for Timothy, taught me what it meant to be instant in season and out.
Don’t get me wrong, Pop was far from perfect. He had bumps, warts and pimples just like all of us. He was gruff and sometimes argumentative, and perhaps even a little judgmental. But for all of these faults, our relationship was always tapered with unconditional love. He was a wonderful example of what it meant to live out The Word of God in our everyday lives… He will be greatly missed.
However, this article isn’t necessarily about Pop. Rather, it is about the pain that God often uses to plow the soil of our hearts and our need as Believers to be instant in season and out.
Pain in this life is inevitable. However, while we may not be exempt from troubles, we do have a choice about how we respond to them. Like a plow that tills up hard soil in preparation for planting, our hearts are tilled by pain to prepare them for emotional and spiritual seed.
It is during those times that we can choose to cry out to God for His peace, direction, mercy and grace or – we can let the seeds of bitterness, anger and fear take root in our hearts.
I am far from the perfect one to speak on this subject. The truth is; I’ve missed planting the right seed during times of hardship more times than I dare to count. However, this time, this week, as we deal with Pop’s passing, I’ve tried very hard to focus on God’s goodness and mercy, even in my pain. In doing so, I’ve found myself moving much closer to the Lord, and with that closeness, His constant peace and promises become even more real.
So why am I telling you these things?
In very short order, things are about to happen, are happening, on planet earth and the United States that will bring immense pain to all of our lives. These events and tragedies will pound our hearts until they are mush. Most Believers will cry out, “I can’t take it anymore, God! Where are you?” And in doing so, many will wonder why He has abandoned them. While such fears and doubts are understandable, we must not plant bad seed in the soil of our newly plowed hearts.
If we are to sustain a fruitful walk with the Lord in these Last Days, it is imperative that we recognize that even in pain, His tilling of the soil of our hearts is designed for our good. Then we must allow Him to plant good seed in our hearts, even though we do not understand why the pain had to come.
It is a tall order and I’m not suggesting that it is easy. However, as I struggle with the pain of a newly tilled heart with the loss of my Pop, I find that I can allow myself to be grateful to the Lord for all that He taught me through my father-in law. By allowing the Holy Spirit to bring peace and direction during this time, without the barrier of bitterness or anger, I am able to see purpose even in pain.
Huh… perhaps I too am learning to be a man for all seasons.