There Is a Time for Everything
– Emma Li
As the summer season dwindles to an end, I’ve been getting the usual questions of: how was your summer break? What did you do?
While these questions are harmless, they often feel bittersweet as it wraps up a happy time that many don’t wish to leave behind. Going into the fall season can be isolating for many, with loaded schedules and days that feel shorter and darker. In a world of the ‘new normal’, many anxieties and fears may keep us from feeling at peace.
For myself, I have noticed how my answer to this question has changed this year. I have been rather grateful to reflect on this past summer, and one that is equally joyful and excited for what is to come in the following months of September onwards. I’ve been able to share with people that while I leave behind summer, I leave feeling content and fulfilled by the work I have done. There is no ounce of me that wishes things were different, or feels as if I missed opportunities. There were highs and lows as there always are, but I managed to find purpose in them all.
Now wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could walk away feeling this thought every season we leave behind? I don’t just mean a climate season, but a season of life— a chapter, era, or time period to mark something that we have lived and moved on from.
For myself, summer consisted of boats, golf carts, selling chocolate bars to sugar-high eleven year olds, reliving the classic summer camp dream, and meeting some pretty incredible people. On an island offshore to Gibsons sits Keats Island, home to cottages and the occasional tourist, but perhaps most notably home to Keats Camps. Keats Camps is a Christian youth camp most well known by Christians in the Northshore. After what felt like the longest year and a half of minimal and pre-cautioned youth programs, Keats Camps along with many others took advantage of the easing restrictions and updated mandates across BC.
The decision to come work for Keats in the summer was not a happy, easy decision. At the time, I was leaving behind a rather difficult season. With my spiritual life at a low point and each day feeling more and more stagnant, I felt both incompetent and unuseful to God and myself. It was a failure to trust in who God said He was, and in order to feel secure, I packed up my fear and anxieties into a bag and headed to the islands. This act of selfishness dismissed surrender and humility to the Father, but moreover, it dismissed His goodness and grace that we are constantly blessed to live with as Christ followers. Just like that, by chasing after a ‘new season’, I was abruptly closing the doors of God’s season for my life at that given time.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-4;10-14 says,
“1There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: 2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,…10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.”
Though my fear got a hold of me and led me asunder from God, He was gracious to give me the most memorable summer of my life thus far. At Keats, there were many early mornings and late nights. All around me, there was an excitement in the air mixed with shrieking and laughter of children. There was the befriending of fellow staff whom I now consider family; people who encourage a healthy, spiritual life. Of course, there was also the incredible ocean, mountains, and stars all around me 24/7. There was the witnessing of unbelieving youth coming to a place of worship and prayer on those warm August nights.
To believe in God’s power and Holy Spirit is to sit with confidence knowing He is at work– wherever you are. Even amidst what might feel like the longest, most impossible season of life, Ecclesiastes reminds us that God’s hands on our lives is an assurance that everything, even the unlikely, is actually beautiful in its time.
As the last season comes to a close and a new season emerges, let the encouragement of this passage live on in our hearts as we work, go to school, or serve. Would we find reasons to celebrate as well as mourn, laugh as well as cry, hope as well as reflect, so that no season of our pasts feels like an incomplete one. Would we invite Him to take leadership over our lives, knowing that everything God does is complete, full of purpose, and enduring forever.