A Season of Heaviness
Getting through Life’s Low Spotsby Harold Vaughan — 2 years, 7 months ago
Life is all about seasons. Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 tells us there is a “season” (appointed occasion) for everything—“A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…A time to get, and a time to lose…A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
It seems that countless believers are facing crushing crises. Problems within and without pile on during these horrible seasons. The unraveling of American culture has contributed to massive amounts of depression. "Thinking people" are grieving the inevitable. You see people become afraid because of what "might" happen, but people get depressed because of what "has" happened. Melancholy is the result of losing something; be it a relationship, riches, or reputation. Losing a loved one involves a grieving process which can bring concentrated pain. The Bible talks about the "sting of death." Many have experienced an intense aching in their heart in the wake of death. Life's losses often usher in a "season of heaviness."
Difficulties in your family, finances, fellowship, or physical well-being can also bring about anguish of soul. The physical (your body) affects the mental, emotional, and the spiritual dimensions of life, and vice versa. Everything is connected. Problems in one area tend to impact the other facets of life.
Exhaustion also has a way of skewing one's perspective. Depletion can lead to depression which tends to accentuate depravity. Have you discovered that physical and emotional fatigue weakens your resilience? But there are also times when an inner pain is present even though there seems to be no apparent reason for the "season of heaviness." Anxiety has gripped the best of saints at one time or another. A friend related how he found himself depressed for the first time in his seventy-three years of living. I said, "If this is your first visit from this unwelcomed guest, you should be turning spiritual cartwheels!"
Perhaps you find yourself in a period of great difficulty. If you feel distressed, you are not alone. It is during these “hard times” that we must see the larger canvas.
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:6-7).
The various trials of life bring these periods of overwhelming grief. Scores are enduring a season of testing. Verses like these from 1 Peter offer needed insight to negotiate our way through the dim and dark valleys of life.
- Seasons come and seasons go. Nothing is permanent. Nothing on earth comes to stay—eventually it comes TO PASS. Your season will change.
- “Heaviness”, or grief, accompanies trials and testings. Living can take the life right out of you. No one is immune from these tests. Elijah reached a point of despair where death seemed preferable. John the Baptist questioned the validity of Christ’s Messiah-ship as well as his own ministry. Paul despaired of life. One of the Puritans noted that sin turned Paradise into a briar patch and no one gets through it without being scratched. Life in a fallen world includes all sorts of trials.
- The purifying of your faith is priceless. This faith test is more valuable than gold. Given a stack of gold or a trial by fire, Peter chooses the fire because of the long term benefits. Listen to this, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy (1 Pet. 4:12-13). Don’t get stumbled by your “fiery trial.” View it as an opportunity to bring joy to the heart of God in the here-and-now, and “exceeding joy” to you later.
- God can be glorified and honored “in the fire.” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not alone in the furnace, and neither are you. Even Nebuchadnezzar said, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” There are times when you are blind to any constructive purpose or conceivable benefit, but others are being helped. Your steadfastness in calamity will strengthen the many who are observing you. Better to be in the fire with Christ than out of the furnace without Him.
- “Wherein ye greatly REJOICE, though now for a season.” Don’t wait for this season to pass before you rejoice. Go ahead and praise the LORD even though you may not feel like it. If you wait for your emotions to kick in, you may have a long wait. As has been said, “You will come a lot closer to ACTING your way into feeling than FEELING your way into acting.” God will bring you out as you engage your will. “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isa 61:3).
One of the best things you can do in your "season of heaviness" is to minister to others in the same predicament. Focusing on others can lessen your own grief. Do everything in your power to bring joy and happiness to the brokenhearted. Laughter releases a healing power for the downcast. I recall a man, whose mate had attempted suicide, telling how his good friend helped him. This friend had one mission, and that was to make him laugh. This situation was no laughing matter, but he was strengthened in the midst of his perplexity. Laughter is good medicine. Remember, whatever you do for others, God will do for you. "Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord" (Eph. 6:8).
And should you find yourself with a free spirit presently, you can "refresh" the spirit of those who find themselves in a season of heaviness. Paul was thankful for Onesiphorus who refreshed him in his imprisonment. When Paul was down to nothing, Onesiphorus believed God was still up to something. He ministered to his friend in his suffering. This was not a one-time event; he refreshed Paul often. Compassion can unlock prison doors for those who are bound in sorrow. Sow encouragement into others daily. Keep on the lookout for those who are battling discouragement. Use your influence to minister encouragement, faith, and hope to those passing through their season of heaviness.
The article - When Trials Come