A season under the sun
Photo by Ava
It’s been nine months since I left my home country to live in South Asia and serve God. Sometimes, well many times actually, as I walk through the streets, travel on the bus, hike up mountains or complete some task as part of my ministry, I closely observe what’s around me and think: am I really in this new season? Am I really doing this? I am constantly reminded that our whole life can be divided into seasons.
A season is a period of time characterised by particular circumstances or features. We can see our life in seasons of age; child, teen, young adult, and mature adult, elderly; or we can see it in terms of activities; High/Secondary School, University, interns, entry-level jobs, mid-career jobs or retirement. We can also see it in terms of feelings; emotionally/spiritually difficult, joyful, successful, slow/waiting season. You can see the times in your life as a mixture of different seasons or a season within a season; a season of preparing for exams during your university season, a season of sadness and mourning for the loss of someone you loved dearly during the season of your young adult life. There are many ways to see the different seasons, but the common thing is that it always has a start and an end.
One of our main ministries here is trekking to the remote villages of unreached people groups high in the Himalayan mountains to share the gospel, encourage the few believers and support the local church. I have been on three treks thus far and each one has reminded me how life is filled with seasons. Walking up a mountain is a lot harder than walking downhill for most people – including me. I guess it takes more energy, especially when you are a carrying almost 50lbs on your back. I dread walking uphill and, when my legs begin to pain, walking downhill also becomes a hard task. Every hour of walking I would ask my teammate, “are we there yet?” and be disappointed to hear “no, but we are almost there.” (Which actually meant, “we have a few more hours of walking.”) In those moments, I felt like the walking would never end, like I couldn’t make it anymore, that I was going to collapse. However, when we finally reached our targeted village, all the pain and discomfort begins to fade away. The joy of reaching the village, talking to the people and being able to rest, eat and get more water, filled my heart so much that I could look back at where I’d been and see that the hard walk up the mountain that I felt would never end, actually did end. I stood in awe that I did it, or better yet, that God took me through it. Situations like those while trekking show me that everything is only for a season. Nothing in life will last forever. Even the times when you feel like it’s lasting forever, or the pain is it just too much to bear, rest assured that it will end at some point, and when that point comes you can look back and say, “I’ve made it.”
For me, I have to constantly remind myself that there are many seasons in my life because it helps me to be focused, disciplined, grateful and motivated. It does this for me because I’m reminded that once the season is over I can never go back to it. I may go through another very similar season but never the exact thing. As such, I want to remain focused on what God wants to teach me and do through me in this particular time of life so that when I move on, I move with no regrets. It also helps me be motivated to enjoy this time of life or be grateful where God has me so I can look back and say, “I made it by the grace of God.” Reminding myself of seasons is also very important when I’m going through emotionally or spiritually difficult times. Besides praying, seeking Godly counsel, I also remind myself that, ‘this too shall pass,’ ‘it's only for a season,’ or ‘God will take you through it.’ Having to leave my home, family and friends was really hard for me, but God comforted and strengthened me through that time of sadness. Going through culture shock every so often during my season in South Asia is also another situation I see in my life as a season that will pass. It will make me stronger every time I go through a different season of culture shock.
Being here in a South Asian country for the next two years is a season of my life. When I remind myself of this, I always pray that God will constantly show me His daily will for me here and give me the strength to do His will. When the time comes to leave, I want to leave this season empty because I would have lived a poured-out life for Jesus.