God brought us through the valley of the shadow of death (Ps. 23:4). He never left us, and the joy of new life awaited us on the other side. A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance (Eccl. 3: 4)!

Contemplating the seasons of life

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

On March 12th of 2020, we both arrived home from our perspective jobs with the knowledge of the looming worldwide pandemic. We both were under the impression that we would be back to work in a matter of weeks. We fell into a cooperative work routine — whoever had the most meetings worked from our home office while the other sought out another space. Sabbath School and virtual church became a routine as well. Although the news from overseas seemed grim, we took it all in with a “This, too, shall pass” attitude. But life as we knew it quickly became “pre-Covid” and “post-Covid.”

Watching the news, we began to hear of the vast number of American workers losing their jobs; we were humbled and thanked the Lord for steady employment. In April, we received word of the passing of someone we actually knew, and the pandemic suddenly became very real to us. We would eventually lose numerous friends, and even family, most of whom were in throes of life — working, parenting, traveling, loving — until they encountered Covid-19.

In October 2020, my mom died suddenly of natural causes. She resided in an assisted living facility at the time of her death, so our interactions leading up to her death had been very limited. We laid her to rest, following Covid safety guidelines and restrictions, not the celebration of a life well-lived that we felt she deserved. She would never meet her great-grandchild, born two months later. As the family grappled with the loss of “grandma,” God blessed us with our first grandchild, Jaden, who immediately became the love of our lives. We love it when he wears the onesie that reads, “The Result of Social Distancing!” 

God brought us through the valley of the shadow of death (Ps. 23:4). He never left us, and the joy of new life awaited us on the other side. A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance (Eccl. 3: 4)!

The Bible tells us that, in this life, we will experience seasons that are wonderful as well as those that are difficult. We will experience great joy as well as immense pain. What we have lived to realize is this: none of the seasons or experiences of life are wasted. God shows us that in every experience there is beauty (Eccl. 3:11). Psalm 30:5 assures us that Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

We have learned over the course of this year that we are to live by faith and trust in the Lord in all things for we are living out His divine plan for our lives. We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).

Joseph and Deirdre Garnett, co-directors of Family Ministries for Lake Region Conference