Winter is fully here. My winter coat, gloves, scarves and boots stand ready in the front of my closet. It took me a little while of going through the motions of living in winter before I really stopped to see it. Seeing winter is about seeing the value of a hard freeze. It’s about consenting to God and recognizing His wisdom in giving us the seasons—even seasons that appear harsh.
I first learned the value of seeing winter during a time when I was freezing spiritually. My heart and soul was numb from the harsh realities I faced, and I found myself as barren as a fruit tree in the middle of winter. It was the hardest season of my life. God didn’t send spring in answer to my desperate cries; rather He told me to look around at winter and to really see it.
Today, as I walked a familiar path, I was brought back to the lesson from when I first saw the winter. It was the creek that beckoned me to see the spiritual benefits of winter. From spring to late fall the trees and brush that amass around the creek prohibit me from seeing or even hearing the waters that bubble in the creek. In the winter it is different. The leaves fall away and the trees and brush unmask the source of their abundance.
When I see the winter I can see the world from a different perspective. It’s a world that has been there all the time, but hidden by abundance. I can see the life that feeds the trees and brush. The trees that block my view are nourished by the fresh flow of water through the rock bottom creek. Winter brings perspective to the source of beauty so apparent in other seasons. The spring flowers and leaves form only after long winter months give rest and restoration from the constant demands of spring and summer. Winter is a gift of growth. Without winter we would not enjoy the growth of other seasons.
Psalm 104:19 says, “He made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down.” Winter is the wisdom of a wise God. Just like seasons have their purpose in bringing fruit from the earth, so do harsh winter spiritual seasons bring fruit out of our spiritual lives.
Though I get cold easily and would never call winter my favorite season, God has helped me see it. I see its goodness. I see the value it brings to the enjoyment of summer and spring. I also see that spiritual winter seasons bring forth similar fruit. Without winter spiritual seasons, I would not enjoy the fruit of spring and summer in my spiritual life. Though the seasons of spiritual lives don’t follow the moon and are not near as predictable, they are recognizable and you can see the goodness in them. Right now, though it is winter outside, I am not in a winter season spiritually. Nonetheless, seeing the winter and realizing that winter has its own unique beauty helps me remember the winters of my spiritual life and be grateful for the fruit they have borne.
In the meantime, I will keep a lookout to see winter. I will use it to remind myself how wise our God is to create seasons for growth and beauty. From far away winter may appear ugly, but a closer look at winter helps me see the hidden beauty.