“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”
It is winter here in New Zealand and consequently a lot of the trees in the backyard have lost their leaves. I was looking out at our backyard and noticed that in one of those leafless trees was a couple of missing toys clearly visible. They likely have sat there for most of the previous summer unnoticed, because when the tree was in leaf they were invisible. With the branches bare of leaves though the toys, in this case a rugby ball and a large water gun, are clearly visible. This made me think about seasons in our spiritual lives.
Winter in the natural is a time when the leaves drop from deciduous trees and growth slows right down, but as a result it is an easier time to clean up in the backyard. If you wrap up and brave the cold you can find that there is less wild green growth hiding the broken fences or damaged edges that might need fixing and misplaced toys and garden tools begin to reappear as the greenery dies back, allowing us to collect and reclaim them. In our spiritual lives there are also seasons where the bustle of growth and blossom is stripped away and we come face to face with cracks in the edges of our spiritual garden that we couldn’t see before. During these times though we are also reminded of useful and sometimes valuable tools we have forgotten God has made available to us.
So if you are going through a spiritual winter, don’t just concentrate on the cold, the damp, and the wind, instead, take the time to look around and see what is being shown to you in this season. God may be clearing away the clutter in order for you to have time and space to address the damaged edges in your life, enabling you to work with him to build new and stronger boundaries to your spiritual garden. He also may be showing you lost or forgotten tools, strengths, or even joys, that you have the right to reclaim as a child of God. So look around in your spiritual winter and see what it is that God is wanting to do in your life during this time.