“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV
As we anticipate the coming of fall…come quickly, my heart is stirred toward winter, my favorite season.
A time when all is quiet and at rest. The stillness is healing to my soul. And yet as the natural season begins to slow, my spiritual season is entering a time of heightened activity and arousal.
I have been awakened of late. Hungry. Stirred in my pursuit of God and in that, He is calling me to arms. To arms of prayer, immersion in His Word and courage!!
JOSHUA 1: 7-9 ” Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
The last season (seven years) of my life has felt like abandonment from all I’ve ever known as certain and has been the most uncertain, painful time of my life. In my body, soul and spiritual growth. Stripped naked of all strength, identity and purpose. I found it a wilderness but as I wandered there, I found Mt. Sinai. The Spirit drove me into the wilderness and the Word of God tested me. Like Joseph, my feet were bound with fetters and my heart was broken there; my faith proved.
I found God, faithful, mysterious, benevolent, patient, intentional, mindful, present in and to every moment; every emotion without finding fault. I’ve felt held and abandoned at the same time. Not abandoned by Him, but abandoned by all my crutches, helpless and wanting. Extremely wanting. More and more unable to hold on to past securities, driven into the Arms that are everlasting and I found them to be such. No footing but His Word. No security but His promise. All other loves and havens I’d ever run to, totally deserted. I kicked and screamed and questioned everything I had ever known as faith and God.
All the while, held. In His eternal grip without reservation on His part. Sheltered. And this brings to mind, Isaiah 54: 14-15, 17 (emphasis mine)
“In righteousness you shall be established;
You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
And from terror, for it shall not come near you.
Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me.
Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.
“No weapon formed against you shall prosper..”
This declaration of God’s Word over my life, became my reality in the midst of the battle and the turmoil. This glimpse of God and into the Spirit was breathtaking. I felt like Frodo and Sam in Lord of the Rings, Return of the King, when they had collapsed, exhausted and undone by their journey; fire and lava all around. They had faced peril unmatched and unknown in their quiet life of the Shire and although they had been successful, they prepared for death and finality. They had no strength, no more resolve. They were spiritless and wearied….done.
When overhead, came the eagles!! Oh the emotion of that scene in the movie, I can’t articulate it but I can feel it now. This is my journey. However, God….the underlying current amidst the battle. He is the mainstay. Unseen and, many times, unfelt, but near. Close. Present. Immediate.
All the words David ever wrote about Him in the Psalms, now the reality of my life and my heart. Now, the song that resonates in my soul and lifts my head. The declaration that is the mantra of my life!! The rock that I stand on! The Hand that upholds!!
As with every season, they come and go so gradually and most times quietly until one day you notice the last leaf has fallen, the air becomes crisp and colder and winter encircles you. So with this season of my life. Closed now. Soon to become a distant memory with all the others but nonetheless impactful and purpose filled. God purpose.
I’m convinced wilderness or winter seasons are necessary for growth. Just as winter is necessary for new life in spring. God speaks to us through the seasons of earth, as to what is accomplished in the seasons of our life, if we’ll just listen. Melissa Helser gave an amazing look into the winter seasons of our life and the necessity of seasons, with this video.
Whatever season you find yourself in. Perhaps the wilderness, know this….God is not distant. He is as close as your breath, your pain, your questions and feelings of betrayal. His thoughts and ways are higher than ours and there is so much purpose woven into every one. SO MUCH PURPOSE….I can’t describe. His kindness is our balm and His faithfulness our reward. His very Presence our life and sustenance. He will never forsake or relax His hold on you. Cling to Him, always and you will find your life, even in the midst of what feels like death.
It is only death to those things that hinder His life and will, and in the end, echo 2 Corinthians 4:17:
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory..”
Let Christ be glorified in all!