11.23.2008

Winter is a Season, Too

We have had enough 20ish-degree days around here to convince most
people that we are now well into winter. Metaphorically, though, it
can be hard for many of us to accept winter seasons in our spiritual
lives. We who are among the faithful can yet deny an aspect of the
Christian walk by assuming we are to be fruitful at all times and thus
getting frustrating when we experience seasons of dryness and tumult.

But even the most productive of trees goes entire months with hardly a
leaf, let alone abundant fruit. Winter is a season, too, and an
important one, for renewal and preparation for the coming spring. And
spring does finally come, and thanks to the nourishments received
during winter, much fruit emerges.

And so it is with the faithful believer. We may undergo times of
figurative cold, wind, rain, and snow. Our fruitfulness may shrivel
up. It can look bleak. But if we are anchored, not only will we
survive, stark as we may look, but the winter season will have played
a direct and meaningful purpose in the ability to produce future
fruit.

Consider the very first psalm in the Bible's book of psalms. Note the
comparison of the believer to a tree, that like a tree, the believer
does well to be planted by water. Note also that like a tree, the
believer yields fruit in season. We focus on the importance of
yielding fruit in season, and rightly so; but out of season, God is
doing work too, and we should be diligent about receiving that work
from him. To mix metaphors, consider the important contributions
off-season training make to a championship-caliber player, or the land
management practices of the diligent farmer.

So Christian, if you are experiencing what feels like a frigid and
unending winter in your spiritual journey, be encouraged. This too is
part of the process by which God prepares you to bear abundant fruit.
Plant yourself by streams of water, which is to say (according to
Psalm 1) root yourself in God's Word. Out of season, there may not be
much fruit to encourage you, but this time is no less important in
preparing the way for much fruit in season. In the black church,
there is a rallying cry: "Friday's here, by Sunday's a coming!" May I
add: "Winter's here, but Springtime's a coming!"

"How blessed is the man who does not walk in the (B)counsel of the
wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of
scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law
he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by
streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf
does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers." - Psalm 1:1-3

Post a Comment