For most families, the summer season carries with it a certain mystique. Summer is a time often filled with big events such as family cookouts, vacations, and frequent visits to someone’s pool (if you are lucky).
It is a season where normal days feel rather special, especially for our kids. The days are longer, and responsibilities are often lighter. Late evening homework sessions might give way to pick-up basketball games or backyard campouts with friends.
It is a time full of highlights and mountain top moments, that often stand out to us even years later. Many of us are blessed to be able to take a few days to go somewhere special, out of the way, and relax from our normal routine. The beaches along the coast, a cabin in the woods, or a tent next to a lake might serve as a special setting for our families to make new memories. At least for me, it is quite easy to sense God’s presence in those moments. Walking on a beautiful shoreline, watching the sun drop below the water line, listening to the powerful waves crash into the sand and the squeals of joy from my kids, I am so very mindful of my creator.
If only I could just live in that moment. If only the season where even normal feels special, could last year round. But, we all know it doesn’t. August comes, and with it comes the return to routine and the mad scramble to get ready for it. Whether with welcome or dread, August comes with registration forms to be filled, school supplies to be purchased, and schedules to be set. Soon the days will be shorter, and busier, and normal will begin to feel…well, normal. And sometimes in the midst of this flurry of activity, we discover that it may not be quite as easy to sense God’s presence as it was when those waves were crashing in our ears.
The writer of Ecclesiastes, most likely King Solomon, knew this dynamic very well. In his observance of life “under the sun,” Solomon noted that God has planned our time in such a way that every occasion has a proper season (Eccl. 3:1).
Activities start and then eventually they end; and new activities start again. This is life on the earth, as it has been from the beginning. And moreover, God has designed this life so that when properly viewed “everything is beautiful in its time” (Eccl. 3:11). Every activity, with its beginning and its end, is planned by God to be lovely for His people. What I enjoy about this truth is that first we have a confirmation that God intends us to find beauty in the long days of summer. When I sense God among the carefree minutes of a sunset beach walk, it is a beautiful moment just as he designed. That day is beyond any doubt, a day that the Lord has made. But second, we have encouragement that God does not disappear with the return of our routine. If we do not sense His presence in the chaos that often accompanies responsibility, it is only because we have lost sight. With God, everything is beautiful in its time. God is Lord over the day filled with obligations and busyness, and He is as near to us then as He is in our most lighthearted moments. And that, I believe, is the key: It is His nearness that gives life its beauty, no matter the activity. He is the God of every season.
Jesus Christ, God’s Son, came into the world to undo the work of evil. He declared that He came so that those who believe upon His saving work, in faith, may have life and have it exceedingly (Jn. 10:10). Oh how I love that description! I know that it is not possible to remain on the beach forever (I have tried). Eventually the summer season must end. But I have a Savior who has come to give me life, exceedingly. A Savior who is able to draw me near to God the Father (Heb. 7:25), whether the moment at hand is chaotic or relaxed; whether the day is long or short; God the Father has made everything beautiful in its time. And God the Son has made a way for me to experience that beauty continually.
So as the summer begins to draw to a close, and this season of life prepares to give way to something new, let us not lose the beauty of today. I urge you to ponder Jesus and seek him in faith. He is near! And He is able to make the most normal of days, special. So may you and your family experience the mystique of life with Christ, no matter the season.