It’s springtime. Here in north Orange County, the jacaranda trees are beginning to bloom, and we are seeing the overcast morning skies of ‘June Gloom.’ This spring I discovered how wonderful orange blossoms smell. It shows how much this county has changed in the last fifty years, that this is my seventeenth spring here, and it is the first time I can remember smelling an orange blossom. Meanwhile, I find myself immersed in my usual love-hate relationship with spring. The weather this week has been delightful and pleasant, with lovely, cool breezes coming in off the Pacific. But I know there is a turn coming.
Spring is always so hopeful, but it only leads to summer. Not only do I dislike summer, but since I moved to this area, springtime has become synonymous with disappointment. Every year, I feel that I should enjoy this season, but I am reluctant to allow myself. Spring is analogous with love, weddings, babies, graduations, and new beginnings. Yet, it has never seemed to hold much promise for my life. If I’m honest with myself, my negative attitude stems from a kind of bitterness which I know doesn’t honor God. It is the bitterness of focusing on disappointments rather than blessings, and allowing myself to become jaded by people referring to singleness as a “season” rather than just “life” as I know it. However, as I reflect on God’s wisdom in creating seasons, it occurs to me that I need to give Him more credit that I do. I also need to find a better attitude.
And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself.”
1 Samuel 12:20-22
I think the lesson that I need to learn is to live each season as it comes with obedience to what God has called me to at that specific point. After a sermon on Psalm 90 two weeks ago, I’ve been trying to learn to number my days. For the first week or so, my focus was set. But this past week, I slipped back into spending my free time lost in fiction in my mind, rather than being purposeful about how I was spending my time. How can I live each day for God if I am wasting time thinking about worthless things? My pondering of how disappointing spring is, is just another waste of time. Each day I should live being thankful for the day God has given me and the season I am in. I should be looking for what God wants me to do that day. He may have me in a time of joy or sorrow, work or leisure. It shouldn’t matter to my obedience. It shouldn’t affect my focus.
Recently, I have been reading through 1 and 2 Samuel. Over the past few years, I have come to enjoy reading about the life of David. His life paints a vivid picture of God’s sovereignty, love, and grace in the lives of those who believe. But each time I read through 2 Samuel, my heart sinks a bit when I come to the beginning of Chapter 11 and read, “In the spring of that year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.” (2 Sam. 11:1) I don’t think we know why David remained home. We just know that it was customary for kings to go with their armies, and for some reason, David didn’t go. It wasn’t necessarily a sin that he did not go, but being idle, rather than doing his kingly duty, certainly led him into great sin.
So here it is spring, the time when bloggers. . .hmm. Well, certainly, it is not the time when this follower of Christ should be allowing herself muddle through each day lost in her imagination. It would be best to avoid this sort of “walking on the roof.” Indeed, “walking on the roof” in the afternoon seems to show us that David was idle and perhaps even bored. (2 Sam. 11:2) If there is any lesson that I need to learn this spring, it is that I should be purposeful in how I am using my time. This is something God is having to beat me over the head about, lately. I thought I got it after the Psalm 90 sermon, but I keep slipping back. I keep turning aside toward worthless, empty things.
I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations. For I said, “Steadfast love will be built up forever; in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.” Let the heavens praise your wonders, O LORD, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!
Psalms 89:1-2, 5
As I struggle to learn this spring’s lesson, I shouldn’t be worrying myself with the next season. Summer will come, it will be hot, and life will continue. Worrying about the future can’t change things, but it can take the joy from the present. If I am obedient and purposeful, and focus on God’s will for my life each day, I might even find myself enjoying the springtime. God created the earth to be in this constant state of change. Perhaps it is to point us to the one thing than never changes: Himself.