For those of us in the UK, the weather has most certainly taken a colder turn this week. Some have suggested that it seems to have skipped autumn and gone straight from summer to winter! We have definitely felt the effects of a sharp drop in temperatures.
It got me thinking about how seasons change in our own lives – and in our churches, nation and worldwide. But how often do we take notice of these seasons and allow the changes to stir us to action?
For me personally, I have been experiencing a deep winter of loss and felt catapulted towards lament as the only way to respond. But there are other times when I can ignore or not even notice a change in season.
Some of us love, and embrace, change – I'm not like that. I'd rather things stayed the same as I feel safer that way. But I know that God stirs and changes things for many reasons, and, even in those times I find hugely disorientating and uncomfortable, I remember this quote from Spurgeon: 'When we cannot trace his hand, we must trust his heart.'
This has often helped me to ask him to show me what he'd like me to see, and how he wants to change me, through challenging seasons.
I know that God is a God of love, peace, power and justice. And yet today all around me I see situations and circumstances that don't align with these truths; people struggling and others trampling on them to get to where they want to be – or to keep themselves in positions they already have.
We are living in such uncertain times; many of us will be feeling the cost of living crisis and the sudden drop in the pound personally, have friends or relatives caught up in the war in Ukraine – or the hurricane in Florida.
And there are so many ongoing unjust situations around the world – and in our own country. We can feel full of fear and unease and I do believe God wants to bring his comfort and peace to us. But I also believe he wants to stir us – to prayer and to action.
When we notice a change in season – and I think we can all acknowledge the shift that has been happening politically and economically – do we ask God to help us look beyond the natural circumstances to see with spiritual eyes?
I have been reading Daniel this week and have been so struck by the visions that he saw and the dreams that God helped him interpret. When the world seems bewildering we can ask God for spiritual discernment and guidance.
In recent days I have found myself still asking God for comfort and wisdom for the personal situations my family are walking through. But I have also been asking what the shifts in political and economic spheres mean – and how I should be praying – as there is always more going on than what we see in front of us.
We are certainly in a season of shaking, and I think there is an opportunity for us to rise up in prayer but also as God's representatives of justice and wisdom, our voices need to be heard in our nation – and God-inspired actions seen and felt.
Let us pray for those in government right now – for godly counsel to reach the ears of those making decisions. But let us also look at how we personally can take action – in our local communities and further afield.
If you would like some ideas for how to do this, I really appreciate how Pete Greig and the Lectio365 app bring helpful guidance on how to pray for our communities, nation and the world.
And there are many fantastic charities offering advice on reaching out to others in the midst of our country's economic crisis – for example, social action charity Jubilee+ have produced a helpful resource on how to respond to the deepening crisis. We do not need to feel paralysed by the season we are currently in.
Claire Musters is a writer, speaker and editor who blogs at clairemusters.com. Her most recent books are Every Day Insights: Disappointment and Loss and Grace-Filled Marriage. The latter was written with her husband, and they have provided a series of free videos to accompany the book, which can be accessed on the Big Church Read website. Claire also writes and edits for Premier Woman Alive and Christianity magazines as well as hosting the Woman Alive Book Club. All of her own books are available to purchase directly from her; for more information and to get in touch with her, do visit her website.