New International Version (NIV)
Recently we attended church and heard a sermon called “Change of Season = Change of Heart” and it certainly struck a chord in light of the fact that we were about to move overseas. We are now in our overseas location-Okinawa, Japan– and figuratively we are in a new season, but also the season is literally in transition. It’s that time of year when Spring feels a little bit like winter and almost like summer. It’s too cold to jump in the ocean but it’s also too warm to bundle up in cozy coats and scarves. It is also warm enough for a multitude of spring flowers to reach out from under old winter growth and into the light of the sun so we can enjoy their cheerful blooms. Yes, in spite of the discomforts that are brought about by seasonal change, a change in season is undoubtly beautiful!
As I was reflecting on the seasons, I decided to do a little scientific research on season changes. We all learned in school that the Earth rotates around the Sun and the Moon rotates around the Earth and the location of the Earth in relation to the Sun determines the seasons. What I didn’t realize though was that Earth’s hemispheres are actually closer to the Sun in Winter and further from the Sun in the Summer. This is contrary to my line of logic–I didn’t expect to learn that.
So goes our journey here. We expected to stay in Georgia longer or possibly receive orders stateside; we received sudden unexpected orders to Japan. We expected a drought in Texas when we went home to visit; there was a drought but there was a huge downpour of rain just before we left. We expected cloudy rainy weather during our stop in Seattle; it was the clearest, sunniest day of the week. We expected a hot humid island; well it probably will be soon but for now it’s chilly.
What is more intriguing is that the weather is not the only factor of unexpected happenings. Along with the weather, our circumstances have been met with unexpected surprises. We expected to spend time searching for a church; we have found one we are already in love with. We expected a long car search; a car has already been offered to us and it’s just what we wanted.We had hoped for a home in a specific neighborhood, we were offered something different and not at all what we wanted (which had us feeling discouraged), then we unexpectedly got offered a newly renovated home in exactly the area we wanted to be in (that surprise was undoubtedly the answer to our prayers, Thank you Lord). We are expecting more things as we transition into this new place and while all outcomes are not always perfect, I think it comes down to trust. Throughout this moving process in the past few months, there have been a lot of uncertains, unknowns, hopes, dreams, fears, etc–There have been many reasons to expect disappointments and let’s face it, they come. The good news is that with every few steps a little more is revealed and there are more opportunities to put faith in God and I find more often than not that things work out better than I expected.
In summary, expectations are relative. It is okay to assume the weather might be cold in the winter and hot in the summer, but don’t crumble if you have a hot day in the winter because it can happen. My grandfather used to say, “You should always have a plan, but understand that things might not go according to plan.” What he meant was that it was wise to always be prepared yet flexible. Coming from a man who was in the Army for 30 years, he knew what he was talking about. There is truly a time for everything even though it doesn’t always fall into our anticipated schedules.