“In winter, are the trees bare? Yes.
In winter, are the trees barren? No.” – Alicia Britt Chole
This past Saturday I woke up in the middle of Upstate New York to a chilly 24 degrees. I had driven almost three hours to be there to minister at a young adult retreat. It had been a busy season of traveling and events. And it was already the last month of the year. Somehow December had snuck up on us. It didn’t feel like it at all, but it was on full display that day with frost all around. There was a heaviness in the frigid air and a dreariness that only winter brings.
I have a love/hate relationship with winter. I love the holidays, but find the cold to be miserable. Snow can be enchanting, but who really enjoys shoveling? But that’s the thing about seasons. It always comes with both the negative and the positive. When it comes to the seasons of life, there is a positive to find even in winter seasons of the soul.
Much of my journey the last few years has been learning to embrace the process. But recently God has been teaching me how to take the next step beyond embracing the process to actually enjoying it. Winter shows us that God isn’t in a hurry or ever in a rush to bring forth new life. In mercy He brings a divine slowness that saves us from our hectic busyness. He has a time and purpose in all that He does. So why not enjoy it?
So as I was surrounded by winter all around me, I took time to enjoy what God has been doing in my life. To thank Him for the process. The process is there so that the promise doesn’t destroy us. He uses those winter seasons to draw us closer to Him. It reminds us that the point of it all isn’t to just produce and produce, but to simply abide. Not every promise and dream has come to pass yet, but I know in time they will. I no longer dread the process as I did. I remember clearly of the days when I would do anything to avoid the process or get through it as quickly as possible, but I’m learning.
Winter always yields to spring, and every seed that’s buried beneath the frozen ground will bring forth new life in time. In winter, trees aren’t anxious about their current state. They know their emptiness isn’t a death sentence, but a seasonal transition to new life. Nature isn’t fearful of winter because it knows spring is always bound to come. No winter lasts forever, and spring never misses its cue. God is the Lord over the process. He is the God of all seasons. He knows how to take us through the winter into spring. Spring will surely come. It always does. Amen.