“Do not consider it a hardship when you release your servants. Remember that for six years they have given you the services worth double the wages of hired workers, and the LORD your God will bless you in all you do.”     Deuteronomy 15:18

I can imagine that it would be easy to consider it a hardship to release one’s servants in the seventh year. As an employer, I know that it’s hard to lose employees. New employees must be found and trained. In the interim, I have to work long hours to accomplish my work, my lost employee’s work and the extra work required to find and train the new employee. Sometimes that doesn’t even feel like treading water, it feels like drowning!

But just as God created and is in control of seasons in weather, He also creates and controls seasons in our lives. Our challenge is to accept each season, no matter how short-lived, for what it is and for what God wants to do in it. The huge blessing that comes out of being able to develop such an attitude is that life (our inside life) becomes much calmer – we experience that peace that Scripture promises us. We are no longer at war with the circumstances of our life, fighting them to somehow prove ourselves the victors and the circumstances our slaves. Instead, we accept the circumstances and win victory by trusting the One who creates and controls the circumstances.

The physical spoils of the battle are similar – in both situations the circumstances are faced and dealt with. The emotional and spiritual spoils are radically different. When I fight my circumstances all day, I end the day frustrated and stressed out. Emotionally I am spent and possibly short-tempered or impatient. (Yes, yes, I know these aren’t fruits of the Spirit, but I’m being honest here.) Physically my body is absorbing the day of stress in ways that might not immediately be identifiable, but in the long term may mean an unhealthy weight gain or loss, damage to my heart, high blood pressure, or any of a number of other significant health issues. However, when I accept my circumstances and trust that God is working in and through them, I spend the day at peace inside and I end the day with that same peace. My stress level is down. I may be thankful that the day is over, but I am also grateful for God’s presence throughout it. I am less likely to develop the health issues related to living a stressful life.

Let me give you an example: On his way to work at the hospital last week Phil prayed “Lord, this evening is in your hands. Whatever you have for me tonight, I trust you to handle.” It was the worst night he’s seen in the sixteen months he’s worked there. But because he had prayed on his way in, giving the evening to the Lord, there was chaos and tragedy around him but he remained at peace because he knew that the Lord was there in the chaos and tragedy. It was the season God had for him that night.

How much easier it is to go through difficult times when we recognize that everything is in God’s hands and that we might be facing challenges in this season, but tomorrow, next week, next month or next year is coming and a new season will begin. This is temporary and God has something for us in it now. The sister to this attitude is knowing that God is in control. Did you get that? You don’t have to be in control! What a relief! It’s an even bigger relief when you realize that the One who is in control is better at it than you are! Let it bring you peace. Let God prepare a table for you in the midst of your enemies – whether they are human or paper enemies!

I wrote earlier that when we accept each season for what it is, we are no longer at war with the circumstances of our life, fighting them to somehow prove ourselves the victors and the circumstances our slaves. The truth is that we are the slaves…either to our circumstances, or to the One who controls them. We are at the mercy of much that happens to us each and every day of our life. We can’t change most things and trying to do so brings only that frustration I’ve already written about. Let’s choose instead to be slaves to the One who controls our circumstances. I’m learning that it’s a way better way to live.

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