“He changes the seasons and guides history, He raises up kings and also brings them down, He provides both intelligence and discernment.” (Daniel 2:21, The Message)
One of the most important things I have found in life and in following Jesus is how to discern the season that I am in. It’s important, and sometimes vital, to our Christian walk to be able to properly discern the times and seasons that we find ourselves in so that we can effectively move forward within that season.
I want to write briefly today on those of you who may be finding yourself in a winter season. I hear from many, either in person or those who write to me, about being in a dry or winter season. Winter seasons in the spiritual are like the natural, and they aren’t all that bad.
All of us, at some point in our lives, will find ourselves in a winter season. If we look at the winter seasons of our natural life, we can learn some lessons that we can apply when we find ourselves in winter seasons of our spiritual life. Now, depending on where you live, some winters are harsher than others. I will relate this to the winter seasons I am familiar with living in Maine.
The winter that I am familiar with yields a fair amount of snow. The temperatures dip to bitter cold where there is no chance of any living thing staying alive if it remains outside. It can be dark and gloomy and the truth is many that live in this area suffer from depression in the winter months. How you handle this, in the natural, is all about perspective. If you focus on the conditions you see in front of you on a day to day basis it’s possible it could be discouraging. However, if you focus on what happens when the winter season is over, excitement and anticipation develops.
In order for the trees, plants, flowers, and grass to yield new growth in the spring, they must die in the winter. When the leaves all fall from the trees in the forest you can see much clearer what is on the other side of the forest. You can see more clearly during the winter season because everything blocking your vision has died. Many times, once the leaves have fallen you find things lying in the trees that you couldn’t see in the summer. The winter season isn’t all that bad, it’s all about perspective.
Some of you already know where I’m going with this. We can learn lessons from our natural winter seasons that help us gain perspective into the winter seasons of our spiritual lives. In our spiritual lives, when we find ourselves in a winter season, things die. It can appear dark and gloomy and cause depression if we aren’t careful. We can choose to focus on our current situation or we can focus on the fact that the winter season will end, and when it does, new growth will take place. We can focus on the fact that we had to go through the winter season so some old things could die to make room for the new.
Sometimes when everything is great and all the trees are in full bloom, we can’t see the vision that God has for us on the other side of the forest. In the winter season of your life, when the trees are bare, focus on seeing what is on the other side of the forest. Look for the things lying around that you couldn’t see during the lush times.
Winter seasons aren’t all that bad. They were designed for bringing clarity and for killing off the old so that something new could grow.
Discern the season that you are in, maintain proper perspective, purpose to walk through the season, and be expectant of the great things God has for you.