But how?

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven”

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Winter is not my favorite season. There, I said it. I am not a fan of it in the natural (and definitely not spiritually). I miss the greenery and the flowers. I miss the warmth of the sun. I miss the activity of warmer months. I even miss my skin feeling softer.

Winter is gray, cold, slow, and seemingly lifeless. But, there is a purpose for it. Both in the physical and in the spiritual.

I am pretty certain I am finding myself in a winter season in my walk with the Lord and it’s been very hard not to feel like a failure because the joy and the fire isn’t the same as it was during the summer. I understand you can’t always be in bloom but when it seems everyone around you is in a much warmer season with Jesus, it’s hard not feel like you’ve done something wrong. I’ve questioned if I’ve gotten off somehow and “how do I fix this” and the answer is always the same: rest. Or “be still”. Or there is simply silence. He is encouraging a quiet spirit within me. And I was pretty hopeless in this time, feeling like I wasn’t “getting it” or that it would ever change, but while working on this devotional I kept coming back to this verse — to the theme of time — and even verse 11 of the same chapter:

“He has made everything beautiful in its time”

But how can this season be beautiful?

How does this season do any good?

What purpose does winter really have?

So I researched. Winter comes from an old Germanic word meaning “time of water”, this refers to the rain or snow we have during this season. (There’s definitely tears!) It is also associated with dormancy, especially in regards to crops — some plants die leaving seeds behind and others merely cease growth until spring. Surprisingly, earth is also closest to the sun in winter. In the natural, winter has its benefits for growth in the coming seasons — many berry bushes and some fruit trees require a period of rest each winter to prepare to produce fruit the following spring and summer.

I hope you catch all this in the spirit!

This season of winter I am in with Jesus, is for future growth and fruitfulness. A need for rest as preparation that only He can see. A pace only He knows to set. A way to tend to me and my heart with a wisdom only He obtains. And, because He is tending to me, a time when He is closest to me.

Wow. Okay, I needed to know that. Perhaps now, I won’t fight Him on what He has been speaking. And I can lean into the beauty this “barren” season has. I can let the ground rest for whatever He is cultivating. In time, I will see what purpose this season had; I will see a harvest. I will discover how beautiful it truly is. And that is hope to my heart. To my spirit.

This season will not last forever. I can’t guarantee myself it will last the length of a natural season, but I know when it’s time is up, there will be growth. There will be “flowers”. There will be fruit. And it will be beautiful. It IS beautiful. Because God is the Master Gardener, and He tends to our growth — our fruitfulness — perfectly! Just as perfectly as nature is tended.

So, I don’t know about you, but I am going to let Jesus take His time in this season I find myself in to perfect whatever He needs to within me for a future only He can see. And may this encourage you if you find yourself in a similar season to trust His hand tending to your heart and to your life. He is closest to you in the “coldest” seasons. There is a timing and a beauty for each season, my friend. May we find the beauty of this time we are in. And let me leave you with lyrics from a song called “let the ground rest” by an artist named Chris Renzema that has blessed my heart in this time:

“Just let the ground rest cause if it’s not right now, it’s for the best. You’re gonna grow, I know this, but for now just let the ground rest.”

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