FIRST-PERSON: The renewal of spring
EL CAJON, Calif. (BP) -- In winter, trees lose their leaves, annuals die off completely, perennials die back and lose their color -- nature takes on an appearance of seeming fruitlessness.
But then -- spring! Those "dead" seeds are coaxed into life by the warming soil. The seed has enough stored food to live on for a few days until its roots get established, and soon it's preparing for its annual purpose -- to bear fruit for the good of man and the glory of God.
Our spiritual lives go through the winter-spring transition as well, but spiritual winters can be deceitful, making us think that the seed of our spiritual life has been dormant so long that there can be no rebirth.
If you are in a winter season of life, trust God to do His work of renewal and re-creation in you. Keep in mind:
Spring signals the renewal of God's purpose.
God's purpose for our lives was expressed clearly by Jesus: "I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit..." (John 15:16). A seed endures the dormancy of winter in order to bear fruit in the spring and summer. If God allows you to go through a time of fruitlessness in the winter of your life, it is only to make you ready to come back and bear much fruit in the spring (John 15:5,8). The spiritual season of spring is a season of purpose and fruitfulness.
Spring is a season of re-creation.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). God doesn't just do a new thing when we are saved and then leave us that way. He is constantly re-creating us, making us into new and different people in our journey toward Christlikeness (Romans 8:29).
When we pass through a winter season, "old things have passed away." When spring appears in our lives, "all things have become new" again.
Spring doesn't care how severe the winter was.
Spring doesn't care how long the winter lasted; it is ready to burst forth after a month or a year of winter. The principle is expressed by Joel, the Old Testament prophet: "So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, ... My great army which I sent among you" (Joel 2:25). The people of God had been in a winter season for years, yet God said He was prepared to make up those years: "You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you...." (Joel 2:26).
There is no correlation between the length of winter and the robustness of spring. God's forgiveness, refreshment and re-creation are always fully available. His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Spring utilizes stored strength.
When moisture and warmth signal a seed that spring has arrived, the seed utilizes food stored within itself to jumpstart its growth. As soon as a root is established, new food is drawn from the soil to continue the nourishment. If you are a Christian in the middle of a winter season, you may feel completely powerless to trust God for the renewal of spring. But the Bible says there is life in you (Philippians 1:6), that you have the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14) and that you have been called (1 Thessalonians 5:24). There is spiritual life in you if you know Jesus Christ.
If the window of your soul is dark and wintry, don't despair. Tell God in prayer that you are ready for the renewal of spring. If you are already in a spring season of life, then drink in the abundant rains of His mercy and refreshment. Rejoice that "in Christ ... old things have passed away" and "all things have become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17).