349 – Four Seasons in Christian Life

There are many seasons of Christian growth. It would be ridiculous to attempt to number them since they would be different for each person and could arguably change multiple times each day. Generically, there are a few seasons we must expect, some of these are celebrated by most Christians, some are rarely taught about, some are even scorned by the majority of Sunday morning Bible teachers.

When a person first comes to grips with the reality of God and Jesus, there is a basic learning phase. This includes becoming familiar with the Bible, godliness, and Jesus’s command to love one another as we love ourselves. This season is exciting, energetic, and comes with “bratty”, bad manners and daily “epiphanies” (that other Christians already know). In a sense it’s like being a snot-nosed child all over again. Enjoy it while it lasts for you; be patient and excited with other people while it lasts for them.

Another season is “dryness”, when we don’t seem to feel God at all—at all. CS Lewis wrote “I have never for one moment been in a state of mind to which even the imagination of serious pain was less than intolerable.” Medieval Christians called this season “The dark night of the soul”. It’s normal. Mine lasted about 15 years. In the end, it became nearly impossible to make me sad.

Less celebrated is the season of solitude, when God takes a Christian away from nearly all—if not absolutely all—other Christians. This can be imprisonment, persecution, or difficult life circumstances. “Established” Sunday morning groups will usually scorn these people, basically invalidating their own legitimacy since their purpose is to help people learn about God, while some lessons require absolute solitude.

The last phase listed here is almost unheard of: “Sending out”. The Church—all Christians everywhere—is unhealthy if Christians stay put forever. At some point we need to travel, visit, write letters, somehow reach to others over distance. Too often, “travel” is misinterpreted by Sunday morning establishments as “rebellion”, but if those congregations celebrated the desire to have wider fellowship, Christians in this phase would be able to lead the overall Church to more maturity and happiness.