It’s now March 29th- 9 days after the vernal equinox- and spring still hasn’t quite sprung in many parts of the United States. Tree branches are barren, grass looks grungy, and temperatures have been at least 15 degrees cooler than they should be at this time of year. Yet the calendar says it’s spring. The astronomers and meteorologists say it’s spring. The teachers and the text books all say it’s spring. But…
What do you do when what they say doesn’t line up with what you see? When your expectations fall short of what you’re experiencing? What do you do when God promised a new season of new beginnings but every path you take is a dead-end???
Seasons are a powerful and necessary force in our lives. They affect our activities, travel plans, attire, and even our mood. A change in seasons can usher in beautiful blossoms in one part of the world and tumbling temps in another; longer days in the northern hemisphere and longer nights in the southern hemisphere. Each season is vitally important to the sustainability of our world. If summer lasted year ’round, the earth would be a desert. And 365 days of winter would keep us in the Ice Age. Spiritually speaking, seasons are ordered by God to grant times of peace and prosperity (spring and summer) as well as time for planning (fall) and pruning (dying to our flesh, aka, winter). Every season is relevant to our spiritual journey. Although each season has its own characteristics (naturally and spiritually), it’s impossible for one season to operate on its own without the predetermined cycles of the other three.
“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
If you are experiencing the death of winter when God has proclaimed this to be your season of renewal- an opportunity for new beginnings- then be encouraged! Every season has an expiration date. The cold, fruitless, dark of wintertide may appear to be longer than promised, but that doesn’t mean that spring has not already arrived. Sometimes we focus so much on the depth of our despair that we miss the subtle changes in our circumstances. Case and point: we’ve gained 2-3 minutes of daylight every day since spring arrived last week. We have over 20 minutes more sunshine today than we did on March 20th. Sounds like progress to me! You may not have it all together just yet, but I bet there are some small changes that have already taken place in your life. And if God brought you out of winter weather before, what makes you think He can’t (and won’t) do it again?!
I know sometimes it seems like things are getting worse instead of getting better. The meantime can be a very mean time. Here are some pointers to help you get through…
Astronomically, spring arrives because of how the earth is tilted in its rotation around the sun. The sun doesn’t move; we do. And the Lord holds it all together in the palm of His hands. He keeps us from destruction even in the death of winter. Position yourself towards the Son. Look to Him for your next move. It’s impossible to grow spiritually if you’re constantly spinning on your own. We are all bound to fail when we’re disconnected from the Source ’round which we’ve been created to revolve. Surrender your will to His and allow His perfect timing to perfect you in the process.
Plant the Right Seeds
There are two types of plants that sprout up each spring: annuals and perennials. Annuals are easy to care for, supply beautiful pops of color, and are relatively inexpensive (in the short run). It’s best to plant them in the spring so they’ll grow throughout the spring and summer. But they are temporary. Annuals can’t stand the cold so they’ll die off at the first frost of winter. As a result, you have to plant new plants or seeds each year.
Perennials, on the other hand, are long-lasting. They are easy to maintain, come back year after year, and most are able to survive the cold. Once winter arrives, perennials die down to their roots but their roots lay dormant until the warmth of spring returns. And voila! New flowers and foliage appear again.
See where I’m going with this? Either you’re an annual Believer, a perennial Believer, (or worse- a non-Believer). While you’re waiting on the manifestation of your new season, be careful which seeds you plant. Annuals are a quick fix; temporary solutions to long-term progress. Rather than filling the garden of your growth with plants that will die whenever times get hard, sow seeds of faith that will survive the harshest of winters. Use your meantime to be proactive and productive. Connect with God. Surround yourself with other Believers. Eat better. Work out. Save more. Pay your bills. Get help. Clean up your mess. Do what God instructed you to do. Plant the right seeds now so you can reap a long-lasting harvest.
Although the cherry blossoms have yet to blossom and the nights are still brisk and cold, it doesn’t change the fact that we’re in a new season. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). It doesn’t matter what you see right now. If God promised provision, healing, triumph, and/or restoration…that settles it! When conditions are just right, your blessings will spring forth. Are you spiritually/physically/mentally/emotionally/financially ready to receive them? Do what you can and allow God to handle what you can’t. You’ve been in winter long enough. Don’t let the fear of remaining in your past keep you from living out God’s promises for a brighter future.
No matter what it looks like, God is still God. His position hasn’t changed. He is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. His Word is still truth. His mercy is new every morning and His grace is enough to carry you through the darkest of nights. Hold your head up, stick your chest out, and bask in the Glory of the Sun. It’s a new season! Time to carry out the instructions you were given during winter. Stop trying to resurrect the parts of your flesh that God allowed to die. The Lord is already in position. Perhaps He’s just waiting on you to exercise your faith, cast aside your fears, and move towards your destiny. Commit this time to spring cleaning… out with the old and in with the new YOU!