Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; "Psalm 23:4
When Winter Comes
In our North American part of the world, the height of winter is approaching. Temperatures have dropped to icy depths and varieties of precipitation keep us indoors. The trees are bare. The grass is withered. All nature has a stillness to it. No doubt, winter can be dreary in this dormant state. Depending on your geography, you may not experience the physical conditions of winter, but we all encounter a spiritual state of winter at one time or another. Life circumstances may press on all sides and feel like a burden. You may face a problem you see no way out of. Or there may be no problems, but life feels lackluster or you simply cannot see what is next. Perhaps there is grief for loss of a loved one or an unmet expectation. Some seasons of uncertainty or waiting may leave prayers feeling like they are going unheard, and despite earnest efforts in seeking God, there may be times when God still feels distant. Any of these circumstances can leave our spiritual life feeling barren and stagnant. It is tempting to wonder what we are doing wrong or to believe feeling this way is wrong. On the contrary, the barren seasons of life are some of the most powerful God can use to teach us to turn to Him. Creation itself demonstrates there is life even in the dead of winter!
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,you preserve my life;you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,and your right hand delivers me.The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.Do not forsake the work of your hands. "Psalm 138:7-8
The Winter Bulb
Consider a flower bulb. There are many different varieties including tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, crocus, etc. What they all have in common is that they actually need a cold winter to prosper and bloom. God designed bulbs, not only to withstand, but to rely on cold temperatures to trigger a biochemical process where hormones tell the bulbs when to grow and flower. Thanks to the internal breakdown of starches into glucose, water in the cells of the bulb may even freeze but the cells will not be harmed. What could God be showing us in this miraculous and eye-opening natural miracle?
They are planted in the house of the Lord;they flourish in the courts of our God.They still bear fruit in old age;they are ever full of sap and green... "Psalm 92:13-14
What It Means For Us
When it comes to our relationship with God and the health of our souls, we have a choice to make every single day. A choice of perspective that affects how we will turn to God in facing what is before us. One option is to believe we are buried by our circumstances and that the burden or suffering has no purpose. This option is a dead end only resulting in hopelessness. An alternative option is to believe we are planted rather than buried and that this season has a purpose to bring about future growth! Like a bulb, we sometimes need the quiet, difficult barren seasons to change us inside in preparation for what God has in store for us. God uses these times to teach us to better recognize His voice, to reflect on strongholds in our life that need to be removed, or to practice more unconditional trust in Him. If not for the cold, we would have no need to draw near to the warmth of His Eternal Light.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,whose trust is the Lord.He is like a tree planted by water,that sends out its roots by the stream,and does not fear when heat comes,for its leaves remain green,and is not anxious in the year of drought,for it does not cease to bear fruit. ”Jeremiah 17:7-8
What Will You Choose?
So do you see yourself as planted or buried? Winter is where the process of growing begins. Whatever you feel about where you are spiritually at this moment, we all have that potential in our souls to allow God to grow us. Just as the choice is ours to accept salvation through Jesus, so the choice is ours to continue accepting God’s life and growth inside to change us. The choice is new every single day. There is no limit to what God can do in and through us when we allow Him to change and grow us! Take a moment to consider what you chose today and what you would like to choose tomorrow. Post a Scripture that reminds you to choose growth somewhere easily visible each day. Our team is praying for your continued discipleship and wishes you a Happy New Year!