I saw this Monarch butterfly a few days ago and a friend reminded me that these butterflies are harbingers – they announce the coming of a new season. A new season of cooler weather, orange and yellow leaves, school supplies, pumpkin spice lattes, and long sleeves. There is still a full month of summer, but fall is on its way. It comes every year and although some years it stays warm slightly later or gets cold slightly earlier, it always comes.
Once you’ve lived for a while, you realize that life has seasons. They don’t trace nature’s seasons. They don’t always come at predictable times. You often don’t know what to expect. They don’t seem to repeat regularly. But they always come. And like nature’s seasons, they too are preceded by harbingers, delicate announcers of a new season. Sometimes we see them. Sometimes we don’t.
I have been in a season characterized by death to self, uprooting, tearing down, weeping, letting go, searching, throwing away, tearing, silence, and war. At times, I have begged God to bring a new season, to make this one end. This season has been so hard, but so defining. Never in my life have I faced so many of the deep hurts scarring my heart. Never has a light exposed so fully my darkness. Never have I held my hands as open and been more sincere in asking God to take my life, all of it, for his purposes.
Have you ever noticed (maybe only in retrospect) that suddenly, metaphorical Monarch butterflies are all around you -- underfoot, peppering your path, and rising on arriving air currents? You know what I mean. New people, open doors, personal insights. Sometimes they are warnings, sometimes signs of hope. A few weeks ago, maybe a month, I began to notice harbingers of a new season. A new season is coming. Who knows what it will be. I pray it will be a season of healing, building, laughing, dancing, embracing, mending, speaking, and loving. But whatever it is, I am surrendered and given over because I am convinced to my toes that God has made everything beautiful in its time.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end."