GOD OF TIMES AND SEASONS

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“To everything there is a season,

A time for every purpose under  heaven:”

(Eccl.3:1)

To fully grasp the concept of vision, purpose and plans with God, one needs a clear understanding of the principle of Times and Seasons.

A good number of people in the world today are either angry with, or confused, about God. They wonder how a good God can allow all the evils in the world to continue. Why allow children to be sick and die painfully; or good people to be oppressed by the wicked; or accidents claiming innocent souls; or natural disasters wreaking havoc in communities and across cities; why all the sicknesses and diseases? Why…?

Also, if God has good intentions towards humanity, why not just enforce them immediately and save people from all these troubles? Those going through one crisis or the other (and who doesn’t or hasn’t’?) and those who have been waiting on God for so long for some breakthrough, can relate well to this.

What I’ve found to be a simple, but true, answer to these questions is that God has plans, to make it all better one day, both in this life – if we wait patiently for Him – and eternally, when we get to heaven. The problem with this answer, though, is that sometimes it confuses more than it reassures. I know from experience that it’s almost impossible to hold on to the simple idea of ‘God’s plan’ when the situation you’re in is painful, shameful, and persistently unyielding.

But one way of trying to understand this is by getting a proper understanding of times and seasons, as a vital principle in actualizing vision. Let me explain.

Vision is an idea that is formed in the mind. It’s in the realm of imagination and dreams. When God promised Abraham that his children would be like the stars in the sky and the sands of the seashore, He was giving Abraham a vision. A grand idea of what is possible: That is vision.

But for a vision to materialize in the human realm, it must first become a purpose – a goal and objective to which one is ready to dedicate his life until accomplished. Many great visions have died simply because men were not willing to commit themselves and all that they have in their pursuits. In other words, such visions were not turned into purposes. While visions are great, desirable ideals; purposes are the tangible, definable goals that must be achieved if the vision is to become reality.

And how do you achieve a purpose?

You make plans. Without solid plans followed through, no purpose can be achieved.

This is the process: Vision begets purpose; purpose generates plans.

To illustrate: You live in a third-world country but continually imagine your country overcoming her challenges and emerging an advanced nation. You think about and desire this change so much until you begin to believe that it’s possible for your country to achieve it. You believe that high standard of living, constant power supply, economic growth, and other indicators of an advanced nation are possible for your own country. You believe it so much that you have this yearning in your heart to see it happen. Now, that is vision. Now, you have a vision for your country: to become an advanced society.

Then, you decide to stop just wishing and dreaming and desiring a better nation. You decide to make it happen. You carefully consider all the options available to create such change: business, politics, activism, charity, education, etc. and you choose politics. Because you’ve come to the conclusion that being the president of the country is the only or most effective way to quickly create change. And the way to become the president is to become a politician. Now you have a purpose: to become your country’s president and use this office to change your country’s destiny.

            But you just don’t wish, sleep, and wake up one day and everybody’s shouting, “Mr. President! Mr. President!” That is a dream that will soon clear from your eyes. To become the president, you must – must! – put in place a plan. A plan of actions: You join politics; you become active and contribute significantly; you set up your own committees working to bring your plan into place; you start a foundation and support good causes; you invest in publicity; you start taking smaller political appointments and serving local offices of your political party; and so on.

            From this illustration, your vision is your imagination of an advanced country. Your purpose is becoming the president so as to be able to create the desired change. And to accomplish that, you inevitably make plans.

This is the process. And it is the same with our God. Only that His ways are much different and higher than ours.

To further our illustration: When you make your political plans, you will realize – if your plans are well laid – that they require timing. There is need to assign times (if only tentatively) to when each plan is to come into play. This is not only important for your political ambition. Those who are with you – your family, loved ones, followers – must have an idea of what they are getting into and how long they are expected to remain there. This is because sometimes, those close to you will have to make sacrifices. It will be good for them to have an idea of how long they will have to suffer with you. After all, it is your vision, not theirs. This is why every business plan or life plan must include timelines; while investors want to know when to start expecting returns on their investments, you are also guided as to the different phases of your business and to determine the pace of your actions.

As times are important in our business, life, political/work plans, so are times and seasons important in God’s plans. Who knows the importance of this principle better than the creator of all things Himself? People want God to do it now, but God’s allotted times and seasons must be adhered to, if the plans are to succeed and the vision realized. For example, no matter how hungry people get, a tree must fulfill its cycle before its fruits are ripe enough to eat. Ripe mangoes will only be seen in the season of mangoes. Even the fig tree in Mark failed to produce fruits for Jesus, His hunger notwithstanding, because – as the bible stated – it was not the season for figs (Mark 11:13). And no matter how tiring and unpleasant the wait, a pregnancy must fulfill its nine months before delivery occurs. If the baby comes way too soon, then it must still fulfill its time in an incubator before it can face the world.

You see. While it is painful to us as humans – and believe me, God cares about that – the truth is that some of the pains and troubles of life fall in God’s plans; and His allowing these is not to make us suffer, no! but to make all things beautiful in their time. Mature Christians understand this as tests of faith.

This is the principle of times and seasons as ordained by God. Birth, death, the rise of kings, kingdoms and nations, the calling and glorification of God’s saints and servants; everything happens in their seasons, their predetermined times, according to God’s plan.

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