Life cannot be defined. It is, and that’s all there is to it. Oh, I’m aware that the dictionary gives us a definition of life. But listen to it: “The interval of time between birth and death.” How vague.
Lots of people have said lots of things about life. Shakespeare said of it, “The web of our life is a mangled yarn.” John Ruskin said, “There is no wealth but life.” And Henry Wadsworth Longfellow succinctly said:
Lives of great men all remind us.
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us, Footprints in the sand of time.
But none of these really tells us much about life. Probably the most incisive statement ever made about the origin of life is the one made by Moses in Genesis 2:7, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” After that, life is pretty much inexplicable.
Life has seasons. They’re nice. About the time one is finished, I am ready for the next. Spring is always welcomed after the long, hard winter. We look anxiously for Autumn following the hot Summer months. Winter has its adherents, too; so does Summer. But the most popular time of the year, according to my own personal survey, is Autumn.
Something I’ve noticed, though, is that life has seasons. I’m not talking about the seasons of the year now, but the seasons of life. Most everybody has a Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, if he lives long enough.
Spring comes first. It has a lilt to it. It is blown with winds of youthful enthusiasm. It conjures up thoughts of things like emergence, adventure, and conquests. The traditional time for love’s beginnings, Spring is dominated by the sheer desire to burst forth from the cocoon and try the still damp wings, to soar the heights, to break forth from someone else’s dominance and fly alone. Youth and Spring, they soar together on gossamer wings.
Summer comes and there’s more of a feeling of belonging, a sense of having a place in life. It’s a time for work, hard work. A man is to earn his bread by the sweat of his face and that calls for Summer. Life has responsibility now, pressing down like the hot sun on a tar paper roof. It’s demanding, bringing out the determination in us, causing us to strain against the friction, calling on us to prove our maturity.
Autumn is the beautiful time of life. Having broken free, having flown alone, man has arrived by the time Autumn comes. But Autumn is, for some, life’s trouble time. It’s a time when doubts arise, when the colors of the trees and the bite in the wind portend the coming of Winter. To reassure themselves that they have not faded, some leave the security of love and home and make foolish grabs at youth again. They color their hair, robbing Fall of its rightful myriad of colors. Instead of settling in and being part of the view, they try to make themselves over again and in doing so succeed only in making fools of themselves. When they should be making preparations for Winter, they, like foolish grasshoppers, flitter away the days of Autumn in a stupid, ill-fated effort to retard the cold by returning to Spring. Autumn is beautiful, but ever so dangerous.
Winter may be the best time of all. Winter is hard, but it makes us want to go home. Home is Winter’s harbor. There’s warmth at home, a fireplace to light the face of your mate, gently smooth the wrinkles, give a warm tint to the graying hair. Yes, I know that Winter’s the time when the grim reaper comes more frequently, robbing us of our lives. But let him come. He falls into my hands when he does, for I am a Christian, and he becomes my means of transferal to that better place, my eternal home. Winter is for those who love home.
Enjoy every season, my friend; life is for living. But live for God. Make Him the heart of every season, and you’ll live a happy life. “Fight the good fight of faith; lay hold on eternal life. . . ”
(1 Tim. 6:12)