Summer 2024

THE INCREASE: Seasons - David Ledbetter


What’s the purpose of having different seasons in life?

Why can’t I expect the same things all the time? My life runs on this roller coaster of seasonal hills and valleys – times where I can just feel the presence of God waking up with me and other times where I’m on my knees crying out to God but it seems like there’s absolutely no one out there to help or that even wants to help me.

Why does this happen?

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’” – James 4:13-15

These seasons always serve a purpose. Every person I’ve ever talked to who went through hard times – and who believes in the hope that Jesus promises – walks out of these seasons with renewed strength, confidence, and love for Jesus and their faith. There is a new power within them.

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell actually talks about this phenomenon from a different perspective. During WWII, Germany was trying to blitz (a heavy bombing technique the Germans used to crush their enemies) London, but their plan backfired.

Why was this? Because these near misses gave the people of London a new confidence, an extremely emboldened, inspired vigor in their lives. There were many who were killed, but there were many more that were near death but not harmed. So, instead of feeling scared, they were invigorated. They felt a sense of invincibility.

Many times, the plans used to foil us turn into our greatest triumphs. Mankind has an uncanny ability to restore what is broken and adapt to rough, even deadly, circumstances in order to survive. Our instinct for survival is unparalleled on this earth. So when we reach a low point, the lowest of lows, and we recover, we now know that space. We’ve been there and we’ve come up out of the ashes.

New perspective. New opportunities. New chances.

When our lives are uncomfortable, when it starts to get slimy, that’s because He’s working. Jesus was a carpenter. You think those tables and chairs just make themselves!? No, it’s hard work. Measuring, cutting, nailing, grinding, sanding, and the list goes on and on. A masterpiece requires toil and refining! It’s really hard to remember, but I’m crafted exactly to God’s preferences. I am exactly how He wanted me – the bad humor, terrible laugh, and solid karaoke voice. All of it.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sister, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” – James 1:2-4

There’s a reason we are called to focus on His love and emulate it in our lives. It’s a direct order on multiple occasions because we need the reminders. I’m dumb, sometimes really dumb! So I need to be constantly reminded that God loves me just as much today as He loved me yesterday and as He will love me tomorrow.  There is no more and no less. It is constant and overflowing!

Once I realize this, it’s much easier to walk in a way that is loving and compassionate to others. Those who have a hard time loving others have typically not known love themselves. Because I know the Father and His love for me, I should be pouring that out to all those I encounter.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love… if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” – 1 John 4:7,8,11

I still am learning how to love others – it’s a lifelong process, just like baseball – but the effort should be there every chance I get. Just because I believe in Jesus doesn’t mean everything I do will succeed. It doesn’t mean that my life is a cloud of happiness and all my ducks are lined up and everything goes smoothly no matter where I go. Actually, it’s the exact opposite. Because I know Christ, my life is going to be hard. It’s going to be really hard. And that’s a good thing. I need to know what trouble is so I can experience triumph.

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” – 1 Peter 5:10

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

This is a reminder to walk in the love of Christ. To remember just how much He really does love you. It’s just too dang easy to forget when we throw 1,000 things on our plates and are interested in everyone else and afraid that our lives aren’t measuring up to what they should be, etc. Stop. Take a moment to soak in all the good stuff happening in you and around you and walk confidently in the person Christ made you to be!

That’s what this post is about. I need this. Every single day, I need to remember this. The seasons of life keep us alive and moving. Recalling our purpose and mission leads us to keep moving in the right direction.

Stay focused. Be deliberate.

David Ledbetter

David Ledbetter is a pitcher for the Round Rock Express (AAA affiliate for the Texas Rangers) and a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.

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