I love the “&” symbol. It’s known as the Ampersand. Little known fact: long ago it was considered the 27th letter in our alphabet, shorthand for “et”, which is Latin for “and". That little symbol has become my personal flag.
My family is in a season of change–changes this past year with selling our house, most of our stuff, moving twice, and more. And changes will come in the weeks and months ahead, some known but many unknown: a new city, new neighbors, new school, new culture, and language. With all of this change comes many thoughts and emotions including excitement, grief, anticipation, and fear. It is truly a season of “&”. It’s all of the above.
These seasons of change can make us feel like a bundle of nerves, and it’s tempting to rail against it. I want to put my shoulder to the door of change and hold it shut. This tension of opposites, the “&”s of life, is not new. Talk to any seasoned Christ-follower and you will hear stories of wilderness seasons, stormy seasons, and bountiful seasons with the mixed-up feelings of all of the above. Our handbook, the Word, has many examples of the “&”:
Examples of the "&" in Scripture
2 Corinthians 6v10: Sorrowful & rejoicing
2 Corinthians 6v10: Having nothing & possessing everything
2 Corinthians 4v16: Outward sickness & inward renewal
Hebrews 11v1: Facing unknowns & trusting implicitly
Psalm 42v5: Downcast & praising God
Psalm 130v5: Waiting & hopeful
Psalm 126v6: Grieving & celebrating
The wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, tells of the “&” seasons in life in the book of Ecclesiastes. He says there is a time for everything–weeping & laughing, mourning & dancing. Solomon comes to the conclusion that despite the “all of the above” nature of our lives, God makes everything beautiful in its time (Ecc. 3:11). Time is the keyword. We want quick resolutions and instant fixes. While often we can’t see in the middle of it, God is actively working, in His own time.
Instead of straining against it, we can lean into our seasons of “&” and humbly ask God to help us. If we allow God to use it to reveal sin patterns in our thoughts and shine His light on areas of our lives we haven’t given over to Him completely, we allow Him to do His work. That’s called sanctification–allowing God, through the Holy Spirit, to work and keep working in us. It’s a process that’s never done because we are never perfect. Personally, I want God to keep working in my life until the day I die. If that’s through seasons of unsettling, unknowns, or even pain, I trust Him to finish what He started in me (Phil. 1:6).
A Prayer for Seasons of ”&”
Almighty God, Thank you for your power and understanding beyond my comprehension. I trust you completely, even when I don’t see or understand what you are doing. Forgive me when I react badly during seasons of unknown or when I’m in a place I don’t want to be. Increase my faith to fully trust you in all things, and in every season. Keep doing your work in my life and show me areas I need to fully submit to You. Amen.