Looking out my window I see sunshine and blue skies! It’s hard to believe it’s February, but I am certainly not one to complain about the weather. For those who wait on a groundhog to determine the length of winter, the good news is, Wiarton Willie finds himself outnumbered this year! Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam did not see his shadow on February 2nd. He then quickly put a sign up outside his shed reading, “Yay! I didn’t see my shadow”. That means warmer weather is on its way. Sam is the earliest riser of his fellow prognosticating rodents in North America. With that in mind, a few hours later Ontario’s Wairton Willie issued his long-term forecast saying he “saw his shadow” which means Willie says six more weeks of winter.
Moving further west, Groundhog Day celebrations were cancelled in Manitoba out of respect for the passing of Winnipeg Willow. Officials say Willow died a week earlier at the Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. Meanwhile south of the border in Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney Phil – who is by far the best-known weather predicting woodchuck – first noted Willow’s passing with his handlers and then declared, “No shadow! Early spring!”
Seasons come and seasons go. We make plans to go here and there and we even make plans according to what seasons we find ourselves in. We make plans to prosper, we make plans to be successful. We make plans about plans and wonder why some don’t work out. But in the end, it’s really all about changing seasons and changing times. We try to control, we try to forecast, but really the best way to take life is truly one day at a time. Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t make plans of some kind, but all too often our lists – whether it’s a To Do List or a Bucket List – quickly fall away. Even if we don’t complete everything that’s on the list. Seasons come and seasons go and no matter what a furry little rodent might say, we really can’t predict the future.
In the Scriptures we find many references to seasons. Of course there’s the well-known Ecclesiastes passage made famous by The Byrds a number of years ago in their song “Turn, Turn, Turn”. The Psalmist talks about seasons, Solomon in The Book of Proverbs talks about seasons and of course Jesus talks about seasons in the Gospels. At one point Jesus criticizes the scholars of His day saying they think they can predict the weather by the appearance of the sky at night, but don’t know how to “discern the signs of the time”.
While we can learn a lot from watching the “seasons of life” I believe many people today need to find encouragement in the season we’re currently in. When we understand that God is concerned about us and concerned about the season we are in, we can actually then find great peace. No matter what we might be going through right now, we can always take comfort in knowing nothing catches God by surprise. I know I’ve written about this verse before, but I have to admit it is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. Jeremiah tells us that “God knows the plans He has for us. Plans to prosper us, not to harm us. Plans to catapult us into our purpose and destiny”. When I’ve written about this verse before I’ve usually highlighted the “purpose and destiny” aspect of the verse. But today I want to emphasize the fact that God actually “thinks” about us. Take a moment and ponder that reality. God is not a distant Being sitting somewhere making random decisions. He actually spends time “thinking” about us as He makes plans to prosper us, giving us hope for the future.
Looking Out My Window is a regular column in the Northumberland Today newspaper located in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada.