It’s Memorial Day here in the US, which marks the transition from spring to summer. I arrived here in the winter and now it’s already summer? I barely had the chance to enjoy spring! Oh, how time flies!
At the beginning of the year, when I prayed about it and I decided to settle down here in California (at least while I’m in graduate school), it felt like it was time for me to put both feet in the ground and “start planting.” In my head, when I thought of “planting,” I pictured a lot of activity. Sure, there was a lot of activity, but not in the areas I expected. I had a lot of school work to do, a lot of adjustments to make to life in the US, and some family members came to visit, so I was busy spending time with them. But in other areas, I felt unfruitful, and as such, I felt inadequate.
But this week, I was reminded of Psalm 37:4 (NASB): “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I’ll never forget the time that my friend, AJ, pointed out that most people miss the verse that comes before that: “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness” (Psalm 37:3). He explained to me that we often miss that part because it doesn’t immediately connect with us, but the people of that day had a very clear understanding of what it meant to cultivate. On the one hand, “to cultivate” means to acquire or develop, but when it comes to planting and farming, cultivating involves the preparation and the “breaking up” of the soil for planting. It speaks of a period where one’s patience and faithfulness will be stretched because the plants or crops won’t grow overnight. But as a farmer continues to prepare the soil, he is in faith that, someday, something would grow out of that land.
I didn’t see it then, but as I look back at the last 5 months that I’ve been here in the US, now I understand that I went through–and maybe I am still going through–a season of cultivation. There were times that I got frustrated because I wasn’t seeing what I was expecting to see. Sometimes, I felt downright broken. But just because I didn’t see certain things appear or happen before my eyes, it didn’t mean that nothing was happening and it didn’t mean that God wasn’t working. On the contrary, now I know that something important was–and still is–happening. Because if the soil isn’t ready and prepared, seeds could be planted, but ultimately, their growth will be limited. The same goes for my life.
I can’t assume exactly what God is up to in my life because He’s God, and He’s too big for my small mind to comprehend. Maybe I’m wrong about this season, or maybe I’m right. I guess it doesn’t really matter that much because at the end of the day, the seasons of my life are in the hands of my loving God, so I can know for certain that every season has its purpose. But every once in a while, it’s also nice to stop and see the beauty in every season before it passes you by.
How about you? What kind of season do you think you are you in?