Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yes, our God is merciful. The LORD preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. Return to your rest, O my soul, for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. (Psalm 116:5–7—NKJV)

Years ago I bought the New Victory Garden book. It is a fun book that walks a gardener through each month of the growing season. The full-color pictures are deep-hued and rich, depicting each step from spring greenhouse to full fall harvest. At the end of the discussion of October harvests, the author pays homage to one more season in the garden. He calls it “Endings.” In reality, it is a reminder that with the close of one growing season, there must be preparations for the next growing season. While there is rest from the usual garden chores which all green-thumbs are forced to take because of the encroaching cold, there are still other things to do in this “in between” season.

The well used tools that have become encrusted with dirt and weathered through use need some well-deserved attention. Each gardener spends the “in-between” time preparing for the next growing season. He returns to his tool shed. The dirt has to be removed from the tools, the handles need a little sanding and a new coat of linseed oil, the blades need new edges, the engines need to be tuned up and winterized in order to fire up when needed at the first green-up of spring.

In a similar fashion, all believers have an “in-between” season. Ours are not wedded to any earthly calendar but are ordered by Providence. There are growing seasons, as we find in John 15:8, “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you will be My disciples.” Then there are “in-between” seasons as Paul reflected from prison in Philippians 1:12–13, “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the Gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ.”

In-between seasons come in all shapes and sizes. Ecclesiastes 11:1 refers to a pre-season activity of “casting your bread (your grain) upon the waters, for you will find it after many days” (sowing your seed upon inundated land in anticipation of the waters receding and a watered, early crop). There is no excuse for inactivity just because the fruitful season is not yet upon you. I remember advice from a seasoned fellow pastor of a large church encouraged me to pour myself into the study of the Word while my first church was small because the time would come that ministry and life would get busy and time in the study would be at a premium. Prepare in the times of quiet for the times when quiet is but a memory.

Another “in-between” season is what Paul speaks of in 2 Timothy 4:6–8: “I am ready to be poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” Though Paul was “sidelined” in prison and his death was imminent, he nurtured a fond anticipation of seeing His Lord and continued to communicate God’s wisdom to others. His truly was an “in-between” season.

Do not forget that even the major seasons have mini-seasons within them. Though you may feel that you are in a July “dry-spell,” there are plants that have bloomed and “set” fruit that need to be nurtured lest they drop their tiny fruits (Mark 6:31). In October, chills coax more vegetables in a cold-frame. In late winter, plan the garden of the spring. Our Lord illustrates this kind of disciplined labor in the “in-between” seasons as Luke recounts in 6:12, “Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called His disciples.”

“Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:5–8).” Trust and obey.