A New Season Has Begun
And the cutting winds that blew violently, hushed. The roaring waves that crashed ferociously, silenced. The devastated earth that was shaken, became still. One season had come to an end…
Let me tell you a simple tale of a man who endured unparalleled pain, and prevailed. Listen, as I share with you the story of he who lost it all, to gain everything.
I recently met up with an old friend and we reminisced over painful events in the past, sharing the ways in which God had helped us to cope with them. As he vulnerably opened up to me, I couldn’t help but notice the intricate works of the Lord throughout his life that had led him to the solid ground he stood on today.
This friend of mine had lost his mother at a very young age and was brought up in a broken home; with very dysfunctional relationships with his siblings. As he shared with me his hopes and dreams as a child, I could see the pain those memories held in his eyes. I sat in the corner of Starbucks repeatedly listening to stories of parental favouritism, negligence from his siblings and emotional abuse, and though my heart ached, I ate up every word he said, eagerly awaiting the revelation of a key to life that I was certain he must have discovered to have become the mighty man he is today.
As he reached the climax of every story he shared with me, a smirk would appear on his face, and after five or six times, I knew exactly what that smirk meant. A big plot twist would ravage the story, and the season of joy or success he would be experiencing, somehow – almost frustratingly – would spiral downwards in an uncontrollably fast way. I’m not going to lie, being the impulsive person I am, his calm demeanor as he spoke began to stress me out, even though none of his past struggles had anything to do with me! I guess I wanted to see the anger and bitterness that had been brewing within him, but to my utter surprise none of that was to be revealed – not because of any wall he may have been putting up, but because there was none.
Friends, believe me when I tell you that evening I heard stories of child abuse, wrongful accusations and consequently wrongful punishments. Stories of deception that would send chills down the coldest spines. Yet this man, with the darkest past, exuded nothing but peace. With the warmest smile, he looked at me in the eyes and said “whatever bad things have happened to me in the past, God has used for good in my life today¹”. Just like that. No complaining, no anger, no self-pity… just the deep revelation that God had used his past seasons of pain for his present joy.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
As he spoke these simple of words of truth, He who dwells within me began to whisper the words He had inspired St. Paul to write to the Philippians; “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13. My friend had truly known what it meant to be in need – in need of money, respect, justice, and love, and he breathed this revelation; that true contentment in every situation can only be achieved through Him who gives you strength. Strength to endure the unendurable. He recognised that apart from His Saviour he could accomplish nothing², “and that, Michael, is why I feel free” he told me simply, with a joyful smile, as if the Holy Spirit had bathed him in peace and liberty.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
This wise man that sat before me at our small two-seater table in Starbucks in Westfield Shopping Centre had figured it out. He’d given me the key to life that I desperately wanted to learn from him. He had come to the revelation that seasons change but the Lord God Almighty forever remains the same³. A revelation that gifted him with tremendous confidence in His Maker, confidence during painful seasons that though he stood helpless before great mountains, His Saviour is and will forever be able to turn them into level ground4 for him to walk through to greener pastures.
As our conversation came to an end, my friend looked at me one more time, and humbly said “…and you know the best part about all this? It’s blessed my present and made me forget all about my past.5″.
Those were the simple words spoken by a simple man who lived a great life, and his words rung ever so loudly in my ears. A man who had tasted what it meant to be in need and to have plenty. A man who recognised that apart from His Creator he could do nothing, but through Him could do all things. A man who, with ease, embraced seasons past, recognising that they led him to where he stood today.
If you want to meet my friend, find him in Genesis 37-50.
His name, is Joseph.
And the cutting winds that blew violently, hushed. The roaring waves that crashed ferociously, silenced. The devastated earth that was shaken, became still. A New Season had begun…