Blessed is the one…
whose delight is in the law of the Lord…
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season… Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV)
I appreciate living in a region with four distinct seasons. Of all four seasons, winter is my least favorite. (Except for Christmas…I do love Christmas!)
I don’t like the cold temperatures. I dislike driving in snowy, icy conditions. I disdain the short daylight hours.
When I read Mark Buchanan’s book, Spiritual Rhythm, his thesis made perfect sense. Buchanan’s book developed from the realization various cycles we travel through in our lives have much in common with the earth’s cycle of seasons.
In Spiritual Rhythm, the season Buchanan addresses first is winter, describing his own bleak winter season while dealing with a faith-shattering personal experience.
“The death of my friend and colleague…plunged me into winter deep and long…There was nothing else but to enter it, and dwell in it, and learn from it. And, maybe, just maybe, to grow from it.”
Bare-branched trees, brown-withered bushes and pitiful perennials seem also to dislike winter. It looks like nothing is going on in the life of a naked, leafless tree or pathetic-looking plant during wintertime, but, in fact, a great deal of vital activity occurs during this season. The work being done happens on the invisible interior, in preparation for lovely manifestations to appear on the exterior.
Even like I don’t relish the calendar’s winter season, neither do I enjoy a spiritual winter. I delight in feeling the warmth of God’s love. I enjoy realizing work I’m doing is valued and makes a difference. I’m energized whenever I hear the ‘still small voice’ of the Spirit speak into my human spirit.
But, I’ve come to realize even as winter is necessary for the maturity and vitality of trees and bushes, it is pivotal for my soul’s growth.
In a spiritual wintertime, my soul has felt cold, empty—even useless. I’ve had moments when I’ve wondered where God is, if God cares. But, when winter has ended, and I engage in some retrospective reflection, I know assuredly God was working at a place deep within my soul. Even though I wouldn’t be inclined to invite another winter, I appreciate the life changing work that took place in the recesses of my heart—a place only the Spirit has the ability to reach. Plus, there’s a certain satisfaction knowing I endured!
During the long Coeur d’Alene winter of 2016/2017, I found comfort in some of my husband’s lovely winter photographs. Here are a few more I’d like to share with you today.
Yes, my friends, spring is coming! Blessings on your journey from winter into spring…
- Spiritual Rhythm, Mark Buchanan, Chapter 1, Winter ↑