From Debbie Wilhite
The Bird of Paradise is showing off her glories in our back yard once again! We recently planted two rose bushes chosen out of hundreds at Ludwig’s Rose Garden while on a “date” to the airport. Of course, they appear more like thorny sticks than budding beauties. But their (hopefully) glorious season lies ahead. And two of several purple irises have awakened from their winter sleep.
Happy September first here means happy first day of spring!
Rain or shine, the trees begin their annual budding (or biannual, as the case may be). Our mulberry tree, which enjoyed a variety of birds at play in her knotty, tangled branches, one day sprouted a solitary leaf at the top. Within days, this same barren tree was now clothed in a green gown of growing food for the boys’ silkworms. Something is happening beneath the surface and behind the scenes. God is at work!
Likewise, God is at work in lives and situations here as well, whether or not we “see” it every day. What a comfort that is when things move slower than we desire or anticipate.
God knows His seasons and keeps them.
At times in the Old Testament His promises were based upon the keeping of a precept. The hope of a blessed season was often conditional upon the obedience of the people, such as in Leviticus 26:4. Matthew Henry stated, “These great and precious promises, though they relate chiefly to the life which now is, were typical of the spiritual blessings made sure by…grace to all believers, through Christ.” The promises of blessing followed their obedience like the fruit following the first and latter rains, which are common here in Africa. God gives rain in HIS season (Jer. 5:24) and showers of blessing (Eze 34:26)
One of Jerry’s favorite verses is 2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” I’m grateful to say that he faithfully lives it, seldom losing an opportunity of sharing the good news, even in the face of hindrances, inconvenience, or discouragement. It’s been a joy to watch him mature in boldness, compassion, and patience over the past 30 years of our marriage. (By the way, happy birthday to him on 15 October!)
“Therefore God placed them not in a land where there were such rivers as the Nile, to water it and make it fruitful, but in a land which depended wholly upon the rain of heaven, the key whereof God kept in his own hand, that so he might the more effectually oblige them to obedience, in which their happiness consisted,” asserted John Wesley. God has also positioned our family in a place where we have the blessed opportunity to depend upon Him. What a good place that is!
Ecclesiastes 3:1 speaks of an appointed occasion or season. Both Job and David experienced those night seasons which were also the times of drawing nigh to God (Job 30 17; Ps 22:2). Our “heaviness through manifold temptations” exists such a short time on this earth! According to 1 Peter 1:6 that “season” is puny in its extent, degree, and duration compared to eternity. I wouldn’t choose those times, but I’m so grateful for the lessons learned, the comfort received, that advantage to know more about the Savior, and the fellowship of His sufferings. Those are growing (not just groaning!) times.
Moses had an eternal perspective. His choice was to side with God, in spite of what appeared “successful” and “worldly-right,” knowing that the pleasures of sin were for the occasion only–temporal and temporary, enduring only for awhile, a time, a season (Heb 11:25).
Even the devil has his season which he knows is coming to an end. With the passing of each day, the coming of Christ is that much closer! He will once more be given a little season till he meets his final destination in hell which was prepared for him (Rev 20:3).
Just as John the Baptist had his season of life, so we also have a season in which to do God’s will. The needs of Africa seem to overwhelm us at times, especially as we realize the time is short. The lost Pharisees were willing to listen to John for a season, literally or figuratively an”hour” or a short time. We’re grateful for many who will stop to receive a tract, or engage in spiritual conversation, or attend Bible studies and meetings. Yet we long for them to not only hear, but to understand, be convicted, convinced, and converted that they may prosper spiritually, bringing forth fruit in due season (Ps 1:3).
We trust to sow the blessed gospel seed and through grace eventually reap a rich harvest.
“…in due season we shall reap, if we faint not,”
Debbie (Gal 6:9)