Springtime For The Soul
‘For behold, the winter is past,The rain is over and gone. ‘The flowers appear on the earth once again;The time for singing has come,And the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.”
Romantic relationships, as well as our relationship with God, go through seasons. Sometimes, we feel as if we’re in the midst of winter, mustering the discipline to keep going even though there’s little warmth. The deadness of plants in late winter symbolizes the barrenness of our hearts, but it doesn’t last forever. Soon, the first signs of spring appear, warmth returns, and hope fills our hearts.
We can learn a thing about walking with God by observing mature marriages. They begin with the heat of passion and the idealism of pure love, but when the honeymoon ended, reality hit husbands and wives hard. A time of reassessment was necessary but challenging. If they failed to rebuild their relationship based on realistic expectations and good communication, the marriage became an empty shell. However, if the winter of discontent ultimately led to richer conversations and deeper affection, the marriage flourished as never before.
In the same way, many of us began our Christian experience with great joy and high hopes. In those early days, God gave us wonderful experiences to confirm our faith, then sooner or later, He chose more difficult curriculum for us. Struggles, disappointments, and misunderstandings about the nature of the Christian life threatened our fledgling faith, but the winter season provided the opportunity to go deeper and grow closer to God.
In the seasons of the year, in romantic relationships, and in our walks with God, the beauty of spring doesn’t come without the dormancy of winter. If we develop greater trust when it’s cold and dark, we’ll experience more love in the warmth of spring.
Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved.
William Jennings Bryan
Life like nature has its seasons and few of us love every season. We just endure the unpleasant ones in anticipation of the pleasant ones. But God designed every season with a purpose, both in nature and in life. All of nature flows in rhythm with the seasons and have adapted and utilized each one. We would be wise to learn from nature and apply those lessons to our own life.
No matter what season we are in in life, we must remember that God is orchestrating it for our good. The essence of Romans 8:28 is that everything in our life, if we will trust it to God will ultimately work for our good.
I think the vast majority of us love spring for it is a season of warmth and beauty. After a cold, dark, and dreary winter, we look with joy as we see the landscape turn green and beautiful colors as flowers that had been dormant spring up with fresh life. The air almost feels magical. It’s the season of new life and new experiences. In the spring season of our spiritual life we are experiencing new growth, new encounters with God that leave us full and overflowing, and discovering a new awareness of God. When we are first saved, we begin our new life in a season of spring.
“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].”
We all are aware that summer follows spring and the warm air gives way to hotter days, the green remains but many of the flowers have matured and faded away. But this is the season when fruits and vegetables begin to appear. It’s the season of growth and production. In our lives, this is the time that the spiritual maturity and the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit. Our desire for God and the things of God increase and deepen. Our walk and relationship with God grows deeper and stronger and consistent.
“However, brothers and sisters, I could not talk to you as to spiritual people, but [only] as to worldly people [dominated by human nature], mere infants [in the new life] in Christ! I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Even now you are still not ready. Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool [discarding his worldly pretensions and acknowledging his lack of wisdom], so that he may become [truly] wise.”
1 Corinthians 3:1-2, 18
Following summer is fall- the time of harvest. Temperatures cool, fruit and vegetables reach maturity ready to be harvested, and change begins as the green begins to change colors. The beauty of brightly forage, the crisp morning air, and the mounds of fruits and vegetables gathered are the symbols and the enjoyment of fall. For us this is the time that we are at work doing the work of Jesus. We are sharing the good news of Jesus to our friends and coworkers and even strangers. We are making disciples of those who have received Christ and we are allowing the Holy Spirit to increase the fruit that He has been producing in us.
“The harvest is past, the summer has ended and the gathering of fruit is over,But we are not saved,” [comes the voice of the people again].
Do you not say, ‘It is still four months until the harvest comes?’ Look, I say to you, raise your eyes and look at the fields see, they are white for harvest. Already the reaper is receiving wages and he is gathering fruit for eternal life; so that he who plants and he who reaps may rejoice together.
We wake up one morning and the fields around us are white with frost, leaves have turned brown and fallen to the ground, and the garden and lawn is filled with dead stalks that had been filled with flowers and fruit. We may think that this is the season of deadness for everything looks gray and lifeless, but if we could see under the surface we’d discover that the plants are expanding their roots in preparation for the next season of producing flowers and fruits. It’s built in to every plant to know that in order to produce more and larger fruit, it’s root system has to expand to support the increased weight that a more abundant production will require. For us, this is the season of digging in. It’s the season of rest and rejuvenation. It the season when we work toward expanding our knowledge of God, increasing our faith and strategizing our plan for growth and increased harvest. This is not a season to just endure. It’s the season of preparation.
“He said, “I am the voice of one shouting in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
“Listen carefully: I am sending the Promise of My Father [the Holy Spirit] upon you; but you are to remain in the city [of Jerusalem] until you are clothed (fully equipped) with power from on high.”
All of us go through seasons and we do so at different times for different lengths of time. Our Creator knows exactly how long to leave us in each season. I’m sure that most of us would like to stay in the seasons that we are visibly productive but it wouldn’t be long before we had drained ourselves and any fruit we might produce would be dwarfed because we wouldn’t have enough nutrition for it. We can only produce what God has placed in us to produce so we must find those winter seasons where we hibernate from activity and make it a season of spiritual growth. And if we will, oh what a spring we will have.
“There is a season (a time appointed) for everything and a time for every delight and event or purpose under heaven— A time to be born and a time to die;A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal;A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh;A time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to throw away stones and a time to gather stones;A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing. A time to search and a time to give up as lost;A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;A time to keep silent and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate;A time for war and a time for peace.”
Dr. John Thompson