Reach | Devotion #3: God is in the Seasons
Kenny Hovis | Prison Ministry Director
I love living in Michigan. I have been to many other beautiful cities, states, and even countries. Many of them are known for their beautiful waters or mountains. So, why is it that I am so enamored with this magnificent state? For me, it is the four seasons and what each of them has to offer. First, there is the freshness of the air on a winter morning! Spring brings the fragrance of newly blooming flowers. Hours spent on any one of a thousand lakes or Great Lakes, swimming, boating, or just enjoying a picturesque sunset is nearby during the summer. Finally, there is the grand majesty of fall with its wildly diverse color, each one separate, but together forming a masterpiece by the original art Master. Yes, God is in the seasons.
Through the years of my life, there have been different seasons. I have served in many capacities in the church. I sang in the choir, traveled in a singing group, taught Sunday school, was a youth director, served in jail ministry, and led worship. I even felt God was leading me to go to school to become a youth pastor. All the while I told myself that I was doing it for God, but as I look back now, I realize that I was more interested in the approval and praise of men. I was trying to earn my way to Heaven. I yearned to have people like me think I had it all together.
While I was spending so much time trying to earn my way into God’s graces, I was neglecting my family. My wife grew resentful of my time away, and we grew apart. I convinced myself I was the one being wronged, and I stood defiant to all that the Holy Spirit was convicting me. As a result, my marriage of 20 years ended.
Jeremiah 50:31-32 says, “Behold, I am against you, O proud one, declares the Lord God of Hosts, for your day has come, the time when I will punish you. The proud one shall stumble and fall, with none to raise him up, and I will kindle fire in his cities, and it will devour all that is around him.”
I went into a dark season in my life and spent some time trying to convince myself, family, and friends that I had been wronged. The great deceiver had convinced me that my actions were just, and that all would be fine. My faith waned, and I blamed God. Through this season, I reached my lowest point and realized I could not fix it. I had disqualified myself from being a pastor, but if nothing else, I wanted my faith in God to be more real to me than ever. I still pray that prayer today.
Ephesians 2:8-10 is so clear and powerful, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
The season of my life since then has been a constant struggle for me to not feel like damaged goods. I have a nagging voice that chirps in my ear saying, “You are useless to God.” God’s desire through eternity, even to the point of sacrificing His Son, is to have a restored relationship with His creation. I believe God is in the restoration business. He restores us to Himself when we are repentant children, which enables Him to bless us again.
I have been married to a wonderful woman for 13 years now. I see her living out her faith, God revealing Himself to her, and her faith becoming more real to her every day. Now we still struggle to find the courage to deny ourselves, and live by faith daily, but it is our goal. We pray that we are an example to our children of how to live by faith.
Now, I tell that voice that I have a purpose. I have been restored by the work of Christ on the cross to a faith, stronger now more than ever. God still has a plan for me.