This weeks cold snap has had me thinking about winter of a different sort - spiritual winter!
Just as we see in nature, our spiritual lives go through seasons. We are told in Ecclesiastes 3:1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.
Winter is a time of stripping, a season of bleak and barren ground. A time of withdrawal, of things falling away, of aloneness, of heaviness and pain. The trees have lost their vibrant leaves. There is a suffering, a sadness, and a death that must occur. In Spiritual Winter everything seems cold, everyone, even God can seem distant, our reserves seem bare, and our heart aches. Yet as in nature, in Spiritual winter transformation is deep at work.
Psalm 1 speaks of the believer like a tree with deep roots; in winter the tree is disrobed but not dead, motionless, resting, gaining in strength ready for the first shoots of spring to reappear.
Spiritual Winter is where the sanctifying work of Christ moves in a way that the warm, joyful summers never fully could. We are stripped of all that distracts us from God, and we must trust that His hand is at work even when we don’t feel it. We trust that we can continue to draw on the deep roots cultivated in other seasons. We hold fast to His hope and cling to His grace as He becomes our song in the darkest night.
Spiritual Winter is a time and a chance to see God through his word in ways you haven’t before. Find times to engage with God in his word, let songs of His grace, mercy and sovereignty strengthen you and fill your heart. Ask his Spirit to direct your eyes to the ways he is working in the small areas of your life. Winter is a time when the inside can be nourished even when what is outside feels barren.
Like seasons in nature, Spiritual Winter will pass.
Our culture is largely oriented toward action. But dormant dreams are not dead dreams; they are often further opportunities for dialogue with God. He created you to desire fruit, and he desires fruit for you (John 15:8). Winter is a time to take those desires to God in prayer. Winter can also be a season where dreams are cultivated.
Grace & Peace
We all know disappointment. Maybe you have longed for healing, work, marriage or a family. Perhaps you have prayed and waited faithfully for weeks, or months or years, yet it seems to be without answer. Disappointment can bring frustration and impatience and anger, we are crest fallen when the answers are not as we would like. So what does God promise when we are disappointed?
Psalm 34:10 “The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” Promises like this can be hard to hear when we are feeling disappointed. What helped me to better understand was asking ‘what is the greatest good?’
Psalm16:2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”
Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
Philippians 3:8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
So, the greatest good is God himself - knowing God in the person of Jesus Christ, not just knowing about him. When we experience God in this way, we are so full that we desire nothing else. God is the only all-satisfying good, which is why he is the greatest good.
So, if God is our greatest good, then what makes something good is whether it brings us more of God. So being healed of a sickness can be good because it can bring us more of God by showing us his power, mercy, and goodness. But not being healed can also be good since it, too, can bring us more of God by drawing us even closer to him.
So why am I disappointed? When we feel disappointed by God, it’s because at that moment there’s something we’re longing for more than God; we’re not trusting in him as our all-satisfying treasure.
So, what can I do?
Psalm 40:1-3, Come to him with your disappointment, trusting him to meet you and change your heart
1 John 1:9 Confess that you are longing for something else more than him. Ask him to forgive you through the cross. Receive assurance of complete forgiveness.
Galatians 3:5 Since the Spirit does his work through the word, find Scriptures describing God’s love, power, and majesty, and promises concerning God as your all-satisfying treasure. Pray earnestly over these Scriptures. Fight to trust them.
Hebrews 10:25 Continue to gather with other believers for encouragement.
Pray: Lord, help me to give you my disappointments, and to trust you when I don’t understand. Help me to focus on who you are, and to always praise you, not matter what. Amen.
Grace & Peace
Jen is an energetic and passionate disciple of Christ who loves to share Jesus with anyone who will listen!