Seasons of faith

6 04 2009

Someone recently told me he was feeling cold toward God. I began to think about this and really let it sink in. I have been there more than once myself. I recognize it as one of the seasons of my faith.

As I look out my kitchen window, I see the grass beginning to emerge a lush, healthy green. The Bartlett pear trees across the street have already shed their delicate, white flowers while the green leaves remain. Gladiolas are pushing up through the mulch and azaleas are splashing the neighborhood with vibrant colors. All the life that has laid dormant through the winter is beginning to come alive again in spring. I feel alive and hopeful. 

The weather will grow increasingly warm. I will have to maintain the yard so it does not grow out of control. Grass will need to be mowed, weeds removed, edges tidied up, plants watered, shrubs trimmed. Cookouts, outdoor lunches on the pier with friends, fourth of July fireworks displays and walks on the beach are all a part of summer. A decent mixture of work and play. I feel productive and steady.

The heat of the summer will give way to the brisk temperatures of autumn. The air is refreshing and crisp. The  grass does not grow as rapidly. The azaleas will give up their blooms as will the gladiolas and other flowers in my garden. By some marvelous act of nature plants will prepare themselves to go dormant. Autumn goes out in a blaze of glory as the foliage  transforms to brilliant reds, yellows and oranges. Our outdoor activities have their last hurrah as we walk mountain trails while enjoying the bright colors around us or perhaps go rafting on the river. We turn our thoughts more to indoor activities. Life begins to get quieter. I feel like settling in for a nap.

Winter. The vibrant leaves of the autumn trees now lie on the ground. Trees look barren. The temperatures drop. Most of our flora lies dormant under the fallen leaves. Some wildlife species burrow underground or in caves for a long winter nap. Seeking refuge from the cold and protection against enemies, they bury themselves as it were. Quiet solitude. For me, there is a feeling of disconnect. I tend to withdraw and nest in the winter. It is a good thing that we have a Christmas celebration to draw us all together or I might not see my friends and family for a whole season. But things in me and around tend to lie dormant. I feel lethargic. Cold.  

Someone told me he felt cold toward God. He did not say that he does not hear God or that he does not believe in God. Just that he feels cold. He is in the winter of his faith. Life has challenged and he has sought refuge by going underground metaphorically. The flash and pizzazz of autumn is over. No more colorful trees, no more crisp, refreshing air. Just cold. This is the time when we believers must hold on to Whom we have believed in. We don’t stop believing just because the winter wind is blowing and causing us an occasional shiver. We hold on even though we feel cold.

The disciples were in the winter of their faith after they saw Jesus crucified on the cross. They held on to what they knew about Jesus. They believed that He was Who He said He was. They trusted that He was the Messiah, the Son of God. Even though confusion and sorrow tormented them, they hung on to what they believed. They combatted the cold by wrapping themselves in the truth they had come to understand. They prayed, they waited, they closed themselves in the upper room. Together.

And it happened. Winter gave way to spring. Death gave in to Life. Jesus defeated death. He arose! Even more glorious than the golden daffodils fighting through the thawing earth to bloom. Jesus walked out of the tomb into everlasting life. Life emerged from It’s burial place. That Life offered eternal life to you and to me. It is finished. Jesus conquered sin and death when he died. His earthly life came to an end like the end of autumn when the leaves have fallen off the trees onto the ground. He was buried like the dormant plants and animals who seek refuge from the cold. And He burst forth again into LIFE. Just like springtime.

Know this; When you are in the winter of your faith, Spring will come again.

Happy Easter!


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