Friday, August 7, 2020

The Winters of our Lives

God's Word tells us that there is a season for everything in life. In the book of Ecclesiastes we read, "There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven...."  Ecc. 3:1

All of creation flows in cycles...planets, star systems, and even galaxies revolve on pre-determined orbits, creating times and seasons as they go. The twice daily tides are determined by the moon. Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter have been ordained to always exist as seasons on the earth. Our lives, too, have seasons. Times of activity, times of rest, times of growth and expansion, times of decrease or maintaining. That is the essence of this post.

For many years, I've tried to make a habit of journaling at least briefly every day. Often as I'm reading Scriptures or devotionals, I have interesting thoughts and questions come to mind. I imagine that I've even asked God questions that no one else has ever thought about! Recently, I was reading through some old journals and came across a meditation that the Lord had given me nearly 30 years ago in the midst of a very dark time in my life.

The location was a beautiful park in the city where we lived, that had a river running through it, and walking trails several miles long where I often went to walk and pray. I was sitting in the car reading and praying one beautiful winter morning, just watching one of those snowfalls where the flakes are so big they mesmerize you as they gently fall to the earth. There, in that quiet time and place, the Lord began to speak into my heart. Allow me to share my journal with you....

"Today I sit at the park watching a beautiful snowfall. Haven't been here in weeks. Sometimes our lives are like a winter landscape – seemingly dead and bare and no fruit...only a few dead leaves hanging on as reminders of a better season. And yet, there is a special beauty about it....the quiet, the stillness, the sense of everything having come to a stop for a time. The peace and lack of activity present here during the other seasons is overwhelming. It's almost as though God has put everything to rest for a time and in the stillness is doing a new creative work which will burst forth at the proper time in the Spring. All the beauty and energy and fruitfulness and life of the past seasons has been buried under a pure white blanket of snow. None of the scars left by the traffic of the summer remain. The snow, which continues to fall, covers, protects, seals, waters, and restores all that will bring forth life and beauty in the seasons to come. Without this time of rest and repair, the park would die. The flowers and grass and trees would continually pour their strength into what is visible outwardly to the human eye. They would continually be trampled and picked and vandalized by the unthinking people who never cease to come to this place to "take advantage" of the beauty – never stopping to see where the source is.

It's almost as though God brings the winter to stop the drain on His creation. Everything here has a time to sleep and catch its breath and restore and replenish the internal places not seen with the human eye. And thus it is that the park is once again ready to offer beauty and comfort and solitude to those who seek it in the new season as well as to those who come only to take advantage of it.

And so it seems to be in our hearts and lives. The winters, the alone times, the times that appear barren and useless, are in essence the most important to us. Without the times of ceased spiritual activity outwardly, God is unable to do the inside works we need. He covers us for a time – buries us carefully – and gives us a fresh, new clean beginning. Without the down times there could be no season of life and fruitfulness.

Even when the outward man shows absolutely no sign of life, God is at work restoring and refreshing the inward man in the deep places of the heart where only He has access. So, the winters of our lives become needful and essential to our spiritual walk.

"Be still and know that I am God."

Genesis 28:16 – "When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he said, "Surely the Lord is in this place and I was not aware of it." 

How often this is true in our lives...we slumber and miss God's presence. During this time of confusion, anxiety, and downright fear in our world, let's not miss what God is doing in our midst. Where things are the darkest, opportunity exists for the Light of the Kingdom to be ever brighter. Know that He is in this place, and that winter will eventually give way to the Springtime.

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