An amazing thing occurred last winter in our part of the country. On February 11, 2010, the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex had a snowfall that set records in the area. In Poetry where we live, we received thirteen inches of snow, and for a day we were unable to get out of our drive. Needless to say, it was a beautiful sight. Many folks see this more times than they want, but for those of us in North Central Texas, it was truly a special gift from God. It was the talk of radio, TV, and newspapers for days afterwards. Viewers were encouraged to send the TV studios pictures so that they could televise them. However, after a while, as it began to melt, and then re-freeze, it became extremely dangerous.

In addition to the snow, we were blessed with an abundance of rain during the spring of the year, causing the trees and shrubbery to be especially full and beautiful. But a strange thing has occurred. The leaves of a Bradford pear tree that I planted when we first moved to the farm have already begun to turn red and brown. The tree is dying. When I planted these trees they were five feet tall and now they are eighteen feet. It is sad to see ten tall, healthy trees equally spaced along the road by the pond, with one among them dying. Its life-span evidently has been met. All of this is a reminder that there is a season for all things, and that is what this lesson from the farm is all about.

The wise man Solomon reminds us that “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecc. 3:1). Then in the next seven verses (3:2-8) he enumerated a litany of things he wished to include in his general observation. They truly cover the gamut of natural and human experiences. Not only do literal seasons occur with all their beauty and “misery,” my pear tree gives evidence to the truth of scripture that reminds us that the “grass withers and the flower fades…”(Isa.40:8). Because of original sin (Gen. 3), the psalmist says that even our days are numbered (Psa. 90:12). The only psalm attributed to Moses tells us that “the years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty” (Psa. 90:10); and those days and years are specifically known by God (Psa. 139:16). I am particularly sensitive to this since I am nearing my three score and ten; “but I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded (assured) that He is able to keep me…” Nothing will ever separate me from his love (Rom. 8:38-39); and since I belong to him, whatever He does with me is OK.

Another aspect of the times and seasons is in relationship to God’s prophetic word. Often, Bible teachers remind us that we are living in the season of the return of Jesus Christ. I personally believe this is true; but each generation should believe that. I also believe that the purpose of the prophetic word is not to amuse the curious but rather to encourage the faithful. On one occasion Jesus taught his disciples concerning the signs of the end time (Matt. 24), and he closed the discussion by observing a fig tree. He said, “Learn a lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near” (Matt. 24:32). Then he made the application, “So also, when you see all these things (the signs), you know that He is near, at the very gates” (24:33). In other words, just as the budding of the tree indicates that summer is near, so the beginning of these signs indicates that the Lord’s coming is near. It is my conviction that these are the times about which He spoke and this is the season of His return. The generation alive on earth at that time will see these events take place (Matt. 24:34), and I am persuaded that our generation is within the season that can see these signs coming together. But since I claim fallibility, I must admit that this is an educated guess on my part. However, true believers do not look for signs exclusively, we look for a Savior (Phil. 3:20). Jesus can come for his church at any time, and the sooner the better.

A most poignant statement by Jesus which relates to the title of this lesson occurred on the day He ascended to heaven. The occasion was that the disciples had asked Jesus if He were going to restore the kingdom to Israel before he ascended (Acts 1:6-7). They had understood correctly the prophets’ writings about the establishment of a kingdom on earth ruled by the Messiah. They wanted to know when! If there ever were a time for Jesus to set the record straight about this matter it was then – in response to that question. It could have been that the prophets had disguised their message in symbolic language all along; but instead, Jesus concurred with their assessment of the kingdom age. They did have it right. One day there will be a Messianic kingdom on earth, but Jesus made it clear that the Father has fixed this within His own authority. They did not need to know when; that is fixed (set) by God himself. Their job was more immediate – they were to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world, beginning in Jerusalem. So, Jesus told them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority …but you will be my witnesses…” (Acts 1:7-8). Our Father in heaven has set times and seasons for all things both now and for eternity.

There is, however, an immediate time and season for some things. Since there is no promise of tomorrow, the time to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is now. The Bible says, “Today, if you hear His voice, harden not your heart” (Heb. 4:7). “Tomorrow” is whispered by the devil (Jas. 4:13-15). But in order for one to hear, another must share the good news that Jesus saves. That is why the Apostle Paul told Timothy to “preach the word; be urgent in season and out of season” (2 Tim. 4:2). Nothing can take its place. True preaching is the explanation and application of Bible doctrine. And that urgency – the sowing of the word – will one day be rewarded by God Himself; for the Bible says that “in due season, we shall reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9).

I began this article by telling you of a gigantic snowfall (for us). Today as I write, the temperature is over 100 degrees. We have had twenty-five such days this summer with more predicted, and there has been less than a half-inch of rain in the last two months. Go figure! As I observe the times and seasons, I am comforted by the words of the prophet, “The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before him” (Hab. 2:20). God is sovereign; He is on the throne, and that makes everything all right.

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines,

The produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food,

The flocks be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”

(Hab. 3:17-18)