This is my winter season
You may live in an area where you don’t experience drastic climate changes, but we can all understand that the seasons we experience physically parallel the seasons we experience spiritually.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has made everything beautiful and appropriate in its time. That means that God is ultimately in control no matter what season you may go through. Realizing this truth helps us endure because, no matter what season we’re in, seasons are NORMAL, seasons are NOT FOREVER, and seasons WILL CHANGE.
And remember, God’s timing is perfect.
For me, the season I find myself wanting to hurry through, both physically and spiritually, has always been winter.
Winter, while beautiful in its own way, is a long, dreary, and seemingly lifeless season. In nature, certain plants experience the inhibition of photosynthesis and they enter a time of dormancy so cold weather, ice, and snow do not harm them.
Dormancy comes from the Latin word dormire, which means “to sleep.”
When their leaves have fallen off and the plants turn brown and appear dead, the plant’s nutrients are actually being stored internally. In winter, most plants are pruned so that all the stored energy is directed where it needs to go; then, in the springtime, the plant becomes healthy, vibrant, and has the optimal chance for growth and development. Thus, during the winter months, plants are alive but are not actively growing. This is a period when growth, development, and physical activity are temporarily stopped.
Spiritually, this season can be difficult.
Those “winters” in our lives can make us feel like God is silent. We may feel stagnant and unable to see any progress. Life feels dark, cloudy, and cold. From the outside, we might even feel that we appear spiritually dead yet are still enduring some of the pruning process.
During winter, it’s difficult but necessary to allow God to make changes in us. It’s a time for storing energy, strengthening, and maturing our spirit. This season can be a time of rest, introspection, and examining our hearts and motivations. During times of dormancy, we have to realize that God is still working in us because He desires to transform us, making us more like Him. We just have to let Him do His work.
A few times in my life, I’ve acutely felt the pangs of the frigid winter pruning.
Years ago, my role in local ministry was shifting, and I was transitioning into a quiet place of preparation. Pieces of me and some of the fruit I’d produced had been harvested, but other things had fallen off like withered, dry leaves in autumn because they’d served their purpose for that season of my life, and they were finished. I hunkered down, being made ready for a seemingly long winter season.
And if I’m completely honest, it was different, it was difficult, and it was, at times, uncomfortable.
When I look back over that season of my life, I am thankful that, even in hardship, good fruit was harvested. Because, in truth, a part of me struggled to let it go. But if I hadn’t, I would’ve run the risk of the good fruit hanging around too long and turning bitter on the vine; and no one likes sour grapes.
When we don’t harvest our fruit in time, we risk becoming infected, infested, and full of contention. We must recognize when it’s time to harvest the fruit we bear because once we bring forth the harvest of a particular vintage, we set our sights on beginning again.
I don’t know about you, but I’m grateful I’m not where I once was.
While I still await much more growth and maturity, I’m thankful I’m not where I began. Through every season of life, even our winter ones, we can grow and learn, and little by little, if we trust God, He’ll make everything beautiful and appropriate in His time.
Excerpt take from Fruitful: Live a Life of Abundant Harvest