Walking in the woods near us is always a delight, especially now with spring in progress. I love watching the changes and the metamorphosis that takes place all around. I am so glad to live somewhere where the seasons are distinct and the change is dramatic. Winter to spring is probably the most startling of season changes when things that looked dead, suddenly and literally, ‘spring’ into life before our eyes.
Winter is such an essential part of the yearly cycle in our climate. So many hidden things are going on under the ground and within the trees and plants themselves, and I find myself getting quite excited as winter starts to come to an end, in anticipation of what is about to happen over the next month or so.
Our Christian lives go through seasons too. There are times of great growth like Spring, times of maturing like Summer, and times of great fruitfulness like our Autumn. There are also, I believe, those bewildering winter seasons when not a lot seems to be happening and we find ourselves questioning our life and faith journey. Is it OK? Am I OK? In fact, as in nature itself, a great many things are probably happening; things of which we are almost unaware.
Sometimes in a ‘time of winter’ we can get a bit panicky because of the lack of evidence that we are ‘doing OK’. Thoughts like ‘Where are the opportunities that I used to have? and ‘I don’t seem to be bearing any fruit’, go through our minds. Or even ‘Life feels a bit barren at the moment. I used to know the sunshine of your love Lord, but I can’t see through the mist and fog at the moment’.
I do believe that in these ‘wintery’ seasons it is important that we continue with our daily thanksgiving. Yes, we can certainly ask the Lord if there is anything we need to know, or correct in our walk with Him, but I think it is important that we don’t overdo the introspection. Keeping a heart of thanksgiving, for anything and everything we can think of, is always good in that this will keep us connected to the Lord and will help us to be in a place to hear any course correction from Him, should we need it.
It is also good to intentionally thank Him for His presence with us in our winter seasons, because these are the times when our roots will grow and go down deeper into His love. This is what is happening to our trees and plants in winter. When the tree is having a rest from producing leaves and fruit its roots are digging deep for water and nourishment, ready for the next season of growth.
In our winter seasons there can be less outward evidence of God’s presence with us. We may feel there is no obvious growth and liveliness in our faith, limited sense that we are maturing and enjoying the Lord daily, even a feeling that our lives are not so fruitful as they once were. In these times we may find ourselves, searching the scriptures a little harder, listening more intently to messages, praying more often, and generally looking forward more eagerly to connecting with the Lord in any way that we can.
If that feels like you then do thank the Lord that He is watching over you in this season. He has clearly said “never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” Hebrews 13:5 (should you have forgotten!). He is so glad you are ‘digging deeper’ to find Him, more of His love and the sustenance that he has for you. Thank Him especially that He is preparing you for times of great fruitfulness ahead. Thanksgiving will help you not to waste time and energy wondering what has gone wrong, and will enable you to gain maximum ‘root’ growth during this time, for however long the Lord has you in this season.