Daylight Savings ends this weekend. And whilst part of me is looking forward to that extra hour of sleep, the rest of me is dreading what comes next.
I don’t like it.
I don’t like being cold.
I don’t like seeing bare branches, gray skies, and muddy footpaths.
I don’t like winter, and I wish it could be summer all the time.
You know, the sun warm on your face, running around in shorts and a singlet – that’s a tank top for all you Yanks 😉 lazy swings in the hammock, barbecuing in the back yard, and going to the beach or the lakes for a swim.
You’re stuck inside all the time.
If you have to go outside it’s probably raining or hailing. Hard.
The cold and the damp seep into your bones until your forget what ‘warm’ feels like.
And don’t get me started with those frigid southerlies. There ain’t nuthin’ between us and Antarctica, and when the wind blows from the south, its cooooold.
But even as I’m setting my teeth (and my thermostat) against winter, I know it’s a necessary time.
God set up the seasons to bring maximum yield. And winter is no exception. It’s a time of rest for the earth.
Everything slows down in the winter. Trees, shrubs, and flowering plants go into a state of dormancy.
In some countries, the animals hibernate. And when our lifestyles were more agrarian, winter was an opportunity to recover from the busy harvest.
Winter gives us all a time to rest and gather strength for the next season of fruitfulness.
Without this rest, we, and the earth, would burn out from producing more and more and more. We’d be like those fields you see in documentaries where the soil has been rendered barren from overuse.
There’s a spiritual connection to this natural phenomenon too.
Psalm 1 talks about seasons when it mentions those who follow God’s word:
“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season...”
I don’t think this is an accidental comparison. As Christians, we should expect to have seasons in our life. Seasons when we’re productive, when we’re feeling close to God. When every word we read from the Bible, every worship song we sing, every time we step out to use our gift, we see fruit, we see growth, we see abundance.
Then there are the other seasons. God seems distant. The Word doesn’t speak to us. The Christian walk appears flat and uninspiring. Does this mean we’re never going to be fruitful again? That we can only expect this kind of mundane experience from here on out?
This is the season for faith.
Paul reminds us that we walk by faith and not by sight. When we’re experiencing the growth, and feeling the excitement, and can’t turn in any direction without bumping into amazing fruit, well, that can be a “sight” season of our life. It’s fun, and it’s busy, and it’s warm basking in the Son. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying this season.
But when we ebb into the next season, we can’t panic. We’ve got to accept the “faith” season. We must hold on to the promises He’s given us, and believe them even when the ground is barren. Even if things are looking dingy and lifeless. Even when it’s winter.
Winter is a time of quiet, of slumber, of death.
But it doesn’t stay winter, does it?
Spring pokes up its head as new growth, fresh life, green shoots begin to appear from the silent earth. Where there once was only the skeleton of a tree, suddenly buds and blooms pop out.
There is hope!
There is life!
It’s the same way in our seasons. We don’t stay in the winter forever. We get to move into spring with a new harvest of righteousness waiting. We get to walk in the promise Solomon wrote about in the Song of Songs:
See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.”
So while I’m bracing for the literal winter that’s about to descend on Rotorua, I’m looking forward to spring! And while some of us may be heading toward a time of spiritual winter, be assured that we’re not going to stay there. The next season is on its way.
What about you? What season are you in?