For as long as I can remember, seasons have been important to me; I have loved watching the change in natural seasons and have held strongly to the idea that we live our lives in seasons too. One of the things that has probably bothered me the most in my Christian walk has been trying to understand God’s timing – always perfect, yet never easy to keep in step with… the Bible speaks about God “making everything beautiful in it’s time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11), in fact, that whole chapter centres on God’s timing for every activity under the sun – a time to be born and a time to die… a time to speak and a time to be silent… a time to mourn and a time to dance… I’ve loved this chapter, and yet it still challenges me on a regular basis. Maybe because I like to plan. I like to categorise. I like to identify, define, understand and appreciate something before moving on. I do that with the “seasons” in my life too.
1 May marks my seventh year at the place I work. Seven years. That’s a long time. I have never worked – or lived – in one place for that long. To be honest, I feel a little claustrophobic and even a little panicky at the realisation that I am no where near where I had hoped to be in my life seven years ago. God’s timing is definitely not the same as mine. So this morning, the Holy Spirit asked me which season I think I am in – usually I love trying to figure that out, today I’m not quite as sure. I chose to avoid answering and dashed out the door to see a man about a car; no seriously, I had to meet someone at the Wijnland Car Museum…
So he wasn’t there when I arrived, and having my camera with me, I figured I would photograph some of the cars while I waited. As I continued snapping away, something in my spirit stirred: there was something incredibly beautiful about each of these old cars. Were they in their prime condition? Definitely not, they couldn’t have been further from that – some had lost tyres, they were covered in rust, windows broken… these vehicles were falling apart. And yet, I chose to photograph the most broken ones. I had walked past the half-decent looking vintage cars to explore the graveyard specials…
As I realised how I was drawn to the chipped paint and broken headlights, the Holy Spirit spoke again of Everything being Beautiful in it’s Time. Yes, in each of their “glory days”, those vintage cars must have been lovely. Beautiful even. Looking at them now, one might be tempted to compare them to their past and well, some might say they haven’t aged well. But the cars I photographed are not living in their past, they have aged and in this present moment, I looked at them and saw Beauty. Yes, Life had come along and done some damage. But every broken window and misshapen bumper added to the car’s story, shaping it into the Beautiful Wreckage that it is today.
And I realised: we’re a lot like these cars. If we keep looking to a time we consider to be our “glory days”, our present condition and situation will always be a disappointment – we will be sad, broken shells of what we had once considered Beautiful. But God’s Timing is not like ours – He sees us in our past, present and future and makes Everything Beautiful in it’s Time. By remaining fully open and aware of this Present Time’s Moment, we dwell in God’s Beauty. By resting in His Presence, we allow ourselves to engage with Him and partner in that which He is busy doing in our lives, whether its healing, rest, adventure, stepping out on Faith Journeys… whatever the moment, when we are fully Aware, we can fully Receive and fully Connect with our Heavenly Father. We celebrate the Beauty of the Little Things; our very own versions of chipped paintwork, rusty holes and torn seats – the little details that make up our Story.
To be honest, I still don’t know which season I am in – and that’s okay. Right now, I just want to live each moment in it’s Beauty… and I figured this: if this moment is not the Time God has chosen to fulfill a Promise or Word in my life, well, that must mean it has another purpose, one I don’t want to miss by looking Back or Ahead. So maybe that’s my current season after all: To simply stand with arms outstretched and heart open to the Will of my Father, ready to receive everything He has planned for Right Now.
Wherever you may find yourself, I pray that you may experience God’s Beauty.