So I’m guessing most people are probably as frustrated as I am with the lovely (That’s sarcasm) weather we’ve been having. Sunny and 85 degrees one day, snowing and 32 the next. Not only is it causing our bodies to go into allergy and cold mode but it causes our brains spin around like it’s on a merry-go-round that’s going waaaaaay too fast, the result being the feeling of displeasure and, if you’re anything like me, depression. But as I was talking to Hayden today I realized that somehow this weather reminds me of something else; my own life and spiritual journey. The ups and downs and the back and forth. In fact the ‘one step forward, two steps back’ saying we use for life sounds exactly like the weather we’ve been having. So the question is, is the way we’re handling this weather mirroring how we handle our own spiritual ups and downs? For me the answer is yes. And it’s not with grace and maturity either, it’s with grumbling and whining and lots and lots of complaining. Maybe you’re like me, if you are; keep reading because this is for you. If you’re not like me, you’re still welcome read anyway. Just stop looking down your nose at me okay? Not everyone is perfect. Alrighty now let me get started, all of us go through the four seasons in our spiritual walk with God. The dead looking winters, the warmth of something better coming in spring, the warm sunny summers where we feel like nothing can stop us, and the slower more content periods of fall. Maybe you’re in the winter period, the place where you feel like nothing is happening, the place where you look around and see no color, all you’re doing is trying to stay warm and praying that spring will come soon. But I have something to tell you, winter isn’t all bad. During winter the trees aren’t dead, they’re simply saving up their food for the warmth of spring, winter is a quiet time to reflect and find peace, it’s a time to recharge your batteries and just be still. And those times in our spiritual journey are very important. Instead of trying to get to spring and complaining in your winter, sit back and try to figure out why you’re there. The winter in our walk may seem like God isn’t talking to you or that he doesn’t care, but it’s not that at all, in fact it’s the very opposite. There’s a verse in Exodus that really sums up what I’m trying to say here:
“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” -Exodus 14:14
So in your winter, your time out, take that time and be still, listen for what God is trying to tell you, and I’ll say it again, be still. Spring will come, it always does, but since when does wishing for it make it come any faster? It doesn’t, trust me I’ve tried. If you know me you know that I hate winter, I know you do because during winter that’s all I talk about. ’87 more days until spring’ ‘Can someone turn the heater on? I’m freezing’ ‘Oh my gosh I can’t wait till spring’ ’62 more days until spring’ ‘Don’t stand there with the door open! You’re letting all the cold air in!’ ‘Winter is so ugly’ ‘I’m so flippin cold right now’ ‘I just need spring’ ‘I would be happy if winter was just one month long’ ‘Why does it have to be winter’ ‘I want to go to New Zealand where it’s warm’ ‘everything looks how I feel, dead.’ ‘I’m freezing cold’ on and on and ON I complain. I get sick of me by the end. But this winter, while I still complained, I also tried to find the beauty in it. The way the frost looks on the trees, the way the snow sparkles, the stillness of everything, the way our breath makes little puffs in the air when we breath, the crunch of snow under my boots, the kids laughter as they pound each other with snowballs, the peace and quiet, the way the littlest bit of color would stand out. And while it didn’t make my longing fro spring go away at all, it did help winter become a bit more bearable. What if we did that in our spiritual winters? What if we stopped and really saw it for what it is, not some lonely place where we’re far from God, but somewhere still where, if we stop trying to crawl our way to spring, we’ll hear God. We’ll hear him telling us;
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
He will never leave you or forsake you, never. So even during your spiritual winter when you feel alone, know that you are not. Another verse that comforts me in my winter times is Romans 8:39 and it says
“Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Guys, those aren’t the only verses that say it. He says over and over again that He is with us, that we’re never alone, so hold on to his promises during your winter times and, most importantly, don’t look at your winter period as something to complain about, but as a period where God himself is fighting for you, and all you have to do is just be still. Winter is hard, it really is. But while this may sound backwards, it’s necessary for your growth. To end with though, let me assure you that spring does come. It may take it’s good old time, it may do a one step forward, two steps back jig, but it will come. It always does. I mean do you remember a year without spring? I don’t. I’ll say it again, spring will come. You need only be still.