Crossroads

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful (John 14:27)

I spent the weekend with some friends hiking and camping. It was a fun time, as well as sweet time of fellowship. After worship in the evening, some opened up about what they were going through in life, and a common theme that emerged was that many were at a crossroad. There were many decisions that needed to be made, some more important, some less important. Some of those decisions would affect their lives for the next several months, others for the next few years.

It was interesting how in a way we all reach a crossroad and, while we may know the general direction in which we want to go to, it’s the actual roads that need to be taken to get there, which are hard to choose. Sometimes, even the general direction is unknown.

I’m finishing my studies for a Master’s degree soon and am hoping to hand in my thesis in the next couple of weeks. It’s an exciting time, yet in a way both peaceful and frightening . I am glad to be finished with it, yet the road ahead seems a bit unclear. I am glad to have the extra time to do other things I need to get done or want to do. People keep asking me what my plans are for next year and what I want to do with my degree. Honestly, I don’t know. One friend described a decision she had to make for something she wanted to do during the summer. It would affect where she would live and work and it was hard for her to reach a decision. She half-jokingly said how easy it would be if God just sent her a note telling her what to do. I guess we all wish that in a way. It would be much easier to choose a job, studies, know who your spouse would be, where to go and what to do at every crossroad. Yet, God wants US to choose. Yes, He knows beforehand what and how we will choose, but He wants us to trust Him in the roads we take. After all, He didn’t create robots.

One verse that I remember learning as a child and which appears at the top of this post, was “let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid”. We all have concerns about the future, worries that we might take the wrong turn in the road, perhaps even fears. But God wants us to trust Him, not to be worried or afraid. I know this is easier said than done, but this is where faith comes in. My dad has a saying which exemplifies this perfectly: For All I Trust Him.

Whatever the crossroad you face right now, whether it is work, studies, having a spouse, traveling, or ________ (you fill the gap), know that God is with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will show you which road to take. It may be before you reach the crossroad, or when you stand right at it.

Are you at a crossroad? If you were, what helped you decide what to do?

© Hannah Kramer

Seasons

“All this also comes from the Lord Almighty, whose plan is wonderful, whose wisdom is magnificent.” (Isaiah 28:29).

In the third chapter of the Book of Ecclesiastes, we are told by the wisest of men that there is a time for everything. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). It is probably the best-known chapter in the Book of Ecclesiastes, and is as relevant to us today, as when it was written.

As seasons come and go, we experience changes in nature. Yet despite the recurring seasons every year, no season is like another that year, or even like the season the previous year. Nor will the following year be exactly the same in its seasons, although the names for the different seasons remain.

So it is in the seasons of life. We have our Summers, Winters, Springs and Falls, yet each season is different. Spring this year may be completely different from spring of last year. And it is definitely not the same as winter.

As humans,  we have no control over the changing of the seasons and times, yet sometimes we wish we did. “If only I could fast forward to a certain time”, or “If only I could press ‘pause’ on the present”, or “If only I could rewind, just once”, and the like. We yearn to change things, either that were or will be.

We all have these moments, don’t we? We may be going through a rough time and wishing the cold blizzard would just pass and the newness of Spring would arrive, bringing with it sweet smells of fresh flowers – the change from April showers to May flowers. Or, we may be sweating in the blazing summer sun, working hard and wishing for a break, a change of some sort.

What about making the most and best of where we are now? Why not live in the season we’re experiencing, while preparing for future season?

Seasons are varied and I will address but a few.

Singleness. All too often, believers tend to relate to singles as being poor and miserable, just because they are single, especially if they reach a certain age. I think singles contribute to that quite a bit by the attitude they have towards the subject of marriage and singleness, especially if they are depressed by it or show desperation.

This could be a fruitful season in our lives to serve God and the brethren. Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians 7:32-36 that an unmarried person is concerned about the things of the Lord and how to serve him. This is a unique opportunity to serve where married people sometimes can’t. We should pray to use this time wisely, and not just wait for another season.

It’s time for believers to encourage the single people to serve, to show them that they are welcome as they are, that there is nothing wrong with them for being single, because there isn’t! It’s time to involve them as full citizens of the Kingdom and not as second-class citizens. God knows our hearts. He knows our desires, longings and dreams. He does have the perfect plan for each of us. We need to accept this season as a gift until he chooses to give us another gift.
God controls everything. It’s either we believe it or we don’t and how we relate to God’s sovereignty in this matter will determine us attitude in all seasons.

The gift of old age. “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness”.(Proverbs 16:31). Young people don’t always appreciate their elders. I don’t mean the leaders in our congregations, but rather those who are of older age and are mature in their thinking. We put so much emphasis on age. Why? It is not a factor of anything but of how long a person lived.

A common attitude, even among older people, is that the world belongs to the young. Does it really? Do our elders have no room or say anymore? Have they nothing to contribute? I believe they have much to give, much wisdom to impart, much love to show, if only given the chance. If only the young of age would seek it. We should not underestimate or judge older age, or any age, for that matter. A Titus 2 woman is an older and wiser woman, who is seasoned in life and can teach younger ones better than, perhaps, their own peers.

If you are young, do not despise old age or view it poorly. You have a lifetime of experiences to learn from. If you are older, you have a lifetime of experiences to share.

Loss and need for a friend. Going through a time of loss is difficult, particularly if it is experienced alone. Perhaps someone special is far from you and you long for the close friendship you had. This too is a season and it will pass. It’s not easy, but you do have one friend who does not change. He goes through all the seasons with you and is the same then and now. The Lord Yeshua. He is a friend that time and distance cannot overcome. Trust him. He can give you another human friend as well in time. Maybe now He wants you to learn to rely on Him first.

Whatever season we may be in now, we need to live in it and do our best to glorify God in it. We shouldn’t try to live in another season. But we can prepare for it, as the farmer plants seeds in anticipation of rain. After the rain, he reaps the harvest.

If you’re single, prepare yourself for marriage, yet serve as you can where God placed you today.

If you need a friend, pray for someone that both of you will be able to encourage and build one another. And ask God to show you if there is someone else who needs a friend. Maybe you can be that person.

If you’re older in age and feel out of the loop, pray to see where you can help others, perhaps who are younger, who need guidance. Be a Titus 2 woman (or Titus 1 man) and be a guide.

Try not to compare seasons. Every season in life, like each of us, is different. Try to encourage and build up others in the circumstances that they are in now. Encourage them keep to their eyes on The Lord and not on themselves. It will help us all to value the time we have now.

Be thankful in all seasons.

© Hannah Kramer