Times and Seasons

When we truly have faith in God, we trust His timing.

The author of the book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that many of our experiences occur on a schedule beyond our control:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted…

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 4

Even though we may have very little control over the timing of these activities, we sometimes fight against their natural timing.

Sometimes, our frustration comes from wanting to know when something will happen. Just before the Savior’s ascension to heaven, his apostles asked Him when the kingdom of Israel would be restored. He responded:

It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

Acts 1:7

In the Allegory of the Olive Tree written by Zenos and relayed to us by Jacob, the master of the vineyard visits his trees multiple times, laboring to create the conditions for them to flourish. He also leaves them alone at times to give them time to grow. When the harvest comes, he enlists many helpers. “The end is nigh at hand,” he says, “and the season speedily cometh” (Jacob 5:71). His timing is governed by the needs of the trees. He is patient when more time is needed and diligent when the time for action arrives.

Later in the Book of Mormon, the prophet Alma compares the process of spiritual growth to growing a tree from a seed. The process requires diligence, faith, and patience (Alma 32:40-43).

In an 1832 revelation, the Lord reminded Joseph Smith that the planets move according to His law, “in their times and in their seasons…. And they give light to each other in their times and in their seasons” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:42, 44). He subsequently shared a parable in which a man visited each of his servants, giving equal time to all of them. They didn’t all enjoy his company at once, but every one of them got to spend time with him “in his time, and in his season (Doctrine and Covenants 88:58).

My friend John Shamanis delivered a talk about accepting God’s timing in our worship service last Sunday. He listed a number of good things we might wish for, including:

  • Finding a job when you’re unemployed
  • Falling in love and getting married
  • Having children
  • Overcoming a serious illness or injury
  • Getting into an educational program

Brother Shamanis asked the question, “Have you ever felt as though you were not being blessed with the righteous desires of your heart?” After acknowledging that we all feel this way at times, he went on to testify, “The Lord knows with perfectness what is best for us and when.”

Today I will exercise faith in God by accepting both His will for me and His timing. When I don’t know how long something will take, I will be patient. I will strive to live happily by adjusting my expectations and adapting to the appropriate time and season for each activity.

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