It was cold! The car doors were frozen shut, one of the mirrors wouldn’t move without de-icer, and the windscreen misted up as soon as I gained entrance. There is a time for everything… but this wasn’t it. We were on a deadline for getting to school- by the way, they’re NOT closed. Teachers and staff are working their socks off providing online learning, and the children of keyworkers and “vulnerable” children are still attending classes. This pandemic really is causing problems. It is also making us all re-think our priorities: maybe there IS a time for re-assessing life and our assumptions.
Half an hour later, I was home with a mug of hot coffee, and of all things making a plan to go back outside and brave the Siberian air of Sussex. (Might as well make the story dramatic.)
I had taken note that the frost had turned the garden into an art gallery. Frost edged leaves, even a lonely ice-glazed rose, and diamond-decorated berries. Beautiful in a wistful way.
So I took my camera and macro lens for a little outing.
The main picture is of the remaining faded hydrangea. Its colours had been spectacular last year; now it was brown and straggly, seed heads looking like a forlorn hope. It looked DEAD. Yet it has a strange new beauty- as does the dying rose.
There is a time for everything. For stopping. Even dying.
Winter is the season of rest in Nature. Leaves die back and fall, except those lovely evergreens that give us colour in January. Stems dry out and eventually fall… but underground the roots are strengthening and getting ready for rebirth and fresh beginnings. There is a time for everything, and a purpose under heaven.
“Lockdown” is a word we have come to loathe. A year ago rumours of a dangerous new virus were spreading, a long way off, and it “will all blow over” ‘cos we have modern science and medicine on our side.
Thank God for science and medicine! God bless the doctors, nurses, cleaners, cooks, physios, drivers, technicians and researchers. We need them all, and hopefully as the vaccines are available then the pandemic will finally be under control. Meanwhile “lockdown, stay home, masks, space, hygiene, and keyworkers” are essential.
Since many of us have to stop “normal” behaviour, stress levels are high and everyone is worried. But how about “seizing the moment”? Make a virtue of stopping. Allow our lives to have a fallow season. Renew our deep roots. Give up on trying to control the world – only God can do that! – and He doesn’t always do it the way we expect or demand. I invite you to reflect on words of wisdom from the Bible. Accept that we don’t have all the answers, that life has seasons to enjoy OR endure… God is still God, and He IS still worthy of our trust, and offers a compassionate comfort to us in our pain and grieving. Let Him be OUR God, today and always.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 (NLT)
1 For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6 A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do people really get for all their hard work?
10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all.
11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.