Winter season is on us. Usually that’s great, for skiers and snowmobilers. Right now, with the rain and cool weather I am not sure what to make of winter. All around us are bare trees; everything is covered with snow; the days are short and nights longer. Outside, the world seems to be silent and dead except for chickadees and cranky crows.
However, nothing can be farther from the truth. For example; last spring I noticed that some of my cedar evergreen shrubs were brown and dry. They struggled to green up. I found out that evergreens turn brown because the leaves lose moisture in extreme cold and will dry up and die. I didn’t consider that my shrubs, though they look dead, continue to be active even in the coldest and frozen times of winter. Some plants continue to function beneath the surface in the winter like tiny clocks ticking away. Flower bulbs you’d think would freeze and die, require cold to make them bloom and blossom in the spring.
Had you considered that freezing and thawing cracks open the surface of the earth to receive seeds that have been lying dormant on the surface of the soil? Then they germinate at the first signs of spring. The season that to our senses appears to be a time of nothingness, silence, and death is actually a season of preparation for a soon-coming burst of new life and new strength. So it is, in the life of man.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ESV For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break 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 cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
There will be seasons of nothingness in all our lives. To deny those seasons in our lives, is against the design of our Creator to cause us to grow and mature. I’ve heard believers say, “My life seems to have dried up. I don’t feel like I hear the voice of God or sense His presence in my life. I look around and my life seems to be so unproductive and dead. Where is God?”
But it’s like the world of nature around us. God is always at work in our lives even when it seems to be a season of winter. Our senses are the worst indicator of that reality. What we feel, see, and hear is a poor indicator of what God is doing behind the scenes in our lives.
Let me tell you about Doubting Thomas. Thomas was one of the disciples of Jesus. He saw the miracles and he actually heard the incredible teachings of Jesus. Yet when the disciples told Thomas that Jesus rose from the dead and actually appeared to them, it says in John 20, that Thomas replied:
25 “Except I see in his hands the print of the nails and put my finger into the print of the nails and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Faith does not rely on our senses. It believes the Word of God despite what we feel, see or hear. Jesus appeared to Thomas, and Matt. 20: 29. This is what Jesus replied to Thomas’ unbelief;
“Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.”
We don’t need to be afraid because we do not feel his hands at work. We do need to pray for His hands on us.
Isaiah 41:10 “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
He is there. As believers in Jesus Christ, we believe and have faith, that God is active in our lives even though we are in a long lifeless winter or dark days in our lives. Maybe we haven’t seen or felt His presence in our lives in a while but God is always at work. Maybe there has been pain or darkness in your days lately, but God is working behind the scenes in your life. Train yourself to see beneath the surface. God is perfecting whatever concerns you. Without those days where we don’t feel or see His hands at work, how can our faith be tested, strengthened or refined? Do I need faith when I get or see what I want or choose? Resistance excercise makes your muscles strong. It is the same with your faith.
And I think faith seems to see best in the dark. You may seem to have “lost your green leaves” or the freshness in your life. Things may seem to be “dark and lifeless.” But as in nature, movement and activity continues below. The true believers’ life is always moving toward maturity so let the seasons in your life produce new growth, give life to new seeds, blossoms to living plants. Let all seasons, whether good or bad, produce deeper and stronger roots in you. Let all seasons produce a greater trust and dependence upon the Lord who promised that He would never leave us nor forsake us.
Another spring will come along with its future growth and strength, to make you even stronger for the next winter season of growth in your life.
Isaiah 35:1-10 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
Repeat this verse to yourself,
7 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged (because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him,) for there is a greater power with us than with him.
II Chronicles 32: 7