November 21, 2023

Understanding the Appointed Seasons

Jeremiah 8:4-9

Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration.

—  Jeremiah 8:7

Sometimes, as much as we want to hold on to the way things are, we must face the reality that change is a part of life. Teenagers are encouraged to “leave the nest,” and “empty nesters” gradually become used to different rhythms in life as their children leave home. Still, even when it’s time for a change, we can tend to resist it.

The prophet Jeremiah refers to storks, doves, swifts, and thrushes, contrasting their wise behaviors with the foolishness of people who have turned away from the Lord. Jeremiah laments the thick-skulled attitudes of the people around him, who lack wisdom because “they have rejected the word of the Lord.” The prophet is saying, in effect, “Even the birds know what needs to be done, but these people are so stubborn!” There is a season for everything, and it’s our task to recognize what season it is.

The invitation here is to consider what season it is for each of us. Is it time to repent? Is it time to relinquish? Is it time to restore? The apostle Paul encourages the church to “be alert and always keep on praying” for each other as a way of being ready for whatever the Spirit will lead us to do (Ephesians 6:18).

Lord, it’s easy for us to become distracted or discouraged, and we need your wisdom to know how we should live. Guide us to be alert, paying attention to the seasons in our lives, and to respond as we ought. Amen.

About the author — Julia Prins Vanderveen

Julia Prins Vanderveen works and lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband, Trevor, and their three sons. Julia has served as a copastor with Trevor at a church in Vancouver. She is a campus pastor and a humanities teacher at the Vancouver Christian School.

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