Today marks an end of sorts: the unofficial end of summer.
Perhaps it’s a mentality ingrained in us from our years at school but for some reason the end of August feels like the end of summer, it feels sad, like the end of something good.
Summer is over. And our hearts experience a profound sense loss.
It’s almost as if God planned the seasons to prepare us for the losses we will inevitably experience in life, as the author of Ecclesiastes wrote,
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:” (3:1 NIV)
Summer falls to Autumn, and Autumn succumbs to Winter. But Winter gives way to Spring, and Spring when it is fully grown blooms into Summer. Life and Death. Death and Life.
Harbingers of the Almighty.
The Seasons are foreshadowings of God’s intentions for his creation. They tell his story, the story of his creation, and they tell our story; past, present, and future.
When the world was new it was like a crisp Spring morning brimming with promise. There was work to be done, and it was good. The rumour of Summer was in the air. Of a world filled with beauty and laughter and love. Of blessing. But Summer was thwarted by the hubris of humanity and the scheming of Satan. Autumn turned quickly, and unexpectedly, to a bitter Winter that seeped down deep into our bones and penetrated our hearts. The world was under a curse, and so it remained.
But it was not to be so for ever.
“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son…” (Galatians 4:4 NIV)
God did not abandon his world, he did not abandon us, to an unrelenting Winter. In sending his Son Winter began its slow thaw. And soon Spring was once again infecting the air, Jesus was about his Father’s good work. The anticipation of promise fulfilled was palpable. But then he was murdered and it seemed as though Winter would rear its foul head again. But no! Winter’s head was crushed, once and for all, it no longer had power over the world, we were no longer held captive under its pervasive influence because in an explosive burst of Summer Jesus rose from the dead.
In Christ we now stand on the precipice of Summer; we see glimpses of the world as it should be, as it one day will be:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)
As Christians we understand the sense of loss that comes with the end of Summer because it reminds us of what we lost when our ancestors sinned against God in the garden by siding with Satan. We know that we are often the architects of our own misery, just like Adam and Eve. And we know we live with the same weaknesses as them. But our hope is in a God who breaks through the Winter and restores Summer. We look forward to the day when God will put all things right, when Jesus will return and never leave, because on that day all our unfulfilled longings will finally come true.
As our Summer comes to an end let’s use it as an opportunity to consider God’s grace towards us in sending his Son to restore not only ourselves to a right relationship with him but the creation as well.