I always have mixed feelings about the end of the garden season. Tomato leaves fade from dark green to mustard yellow and eventually to dead brown. The squash hills that were producing more than I could give away begin giving less and less every week. Don’t get me wrong, I love fall, but I hate watching the plants I have nurtured throughout the spring and summer stop producing and start shriveling up. This year, for the first time, I decided to plant a fall and winter garden. This decision has changed the way I look at the changing of the seasons. On the one hand, I am saddened to see the summer garden fade, but on the other hand, I am excited because I now know the end of one garden season is also the beginning of the next. As soon as the ground is cleared of green bean vines and okra trees, I can begin preparing for and planting beets, carrots, and greens.
The wisest king who ever sat upon a human throne once observed, “To everything, there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2) He understood something that we all need to learn. Life is a series of seasons. In some seasons of life, it’s spring; everything is new, fresh, and bursting with life. Other seasons are more like summer, it’s hot, but there is a lot to be done because the harvest is coming in. At other times, it’s fall. Everything glows in warm colors, yet it is accompanied by a subtle sadness because we know that the brightness of the period is only the prelude to the darkness of the next. Finally comes the winter and the giving way of the warm sunny days to long cold nights.
To the one willing to look, each season holds a different kind of beauty and a different kind of danger. For instance, in summer, there is the beauty of the rose, but there is the danger of exhaustion; in winter, the beauty of the snow but the danger of slipping on the ice. Each season holds both its rewards and its obstacles. All four are necessary for life on earth, and each is, in its own way, a gift from God.
As you transition from season to season, I encourage you to remember that the end of one season is also the beginning of the next. An undeniable sadness comes with transition, but it should not consume the people of God. We have the privilege of a higher perspective. Rather than mourning the loss of what was, we can discover and delight in the new things that God will do in the new season He has placed us in. No season lasts forever. Therefore, I want to encourage you to be intentional and get all you can in the season you’re in.
I have often wished that my summer garden would last forever. However, we all know that not only is that not possible, it also would not be best. Some fruits only grow in the cooler months. If God allowed me to have my way and live only in the summer, I would cheat both myself and my garden. I would cheat myself of variety and the blessing of winter vegetables. I would cheat the ground of its necessary rest. God always does what He does, when He does it; not necessarily the way we prefer, but always the way we need. When God brings a seasonal transition into our lives, it may very well be because there is something He wants to produce in us that requires a change of season for germination and growth. He knows that it may require cooler days for certain greens to grow.
Seasons change, but God doesn’t. In every season of life, He is working to bear the fruit of His Spirit in us and through us. Sometimes that will require cold and–at other times, heat–but at all times, faith and patience in the Father’s goodness. Remember, the end of one season is also the beginning of the next. Every season has the potential to be productive if it is placed in the hands of the Master Gardener.