Winter is evident. Not only by the calendar but by what I see. Snow outside my window, school closings, the fact that my car has not moved in 36 hours, and the still-damp boots by my front door. It is rare that Eric and I lay low in our house for very long. Our life is pretty full, by our own volition, but we relish in the opportunity to “have to” stay in for an extended period of time. Granted, I outlast Eric in this “hunkering down” process as he spikes a cabin fever within 12 hours. But still, we burn more fires in the fireplace, we read more chapters of our books, we talk more, sleep more, and just generally shore up the needs of our home and our souls.
I ordered a book, at the recommendatioin of Ann at www.aholyexperience.com (if you do not subscribe, do it now), called Spiritual Rhythmn: Being With Jesus Every Season of Your Soul, by Mark Buchanan.
Fittingly, I read today about winter. The winter of your soul. If you have walked with Christ for any length of time, or even if you haven’t and you simply are aware that your internal experience ebbs and flows between darkness and light, cold and warmth, abundance and poverty, then maybe you can jump on board with the idea of a winter of the soul. Here is what author Mark Buchanan says:
“Winter hides God. It has power to sever my knowledge about God from my experience of Him, and to hold the two apart, so that my theology and my reality become irreconcilable. [The psalmist talks about the goodness of God - His wonders, His faithfulness, His power]…but what he tastes and sees of God (or doesn’t taste and see) mocks what he confesses and proclaims about God….He experiences a God who simultaneously abandons him and punishes him…a God who hides himself and shows up only to vent himself. This is winter. It’s when God seems too far or too near - aloof in heaven, or afoot with a stick. Either way, it’s as though there is no refuge.
Winter hides God.”
My only response is to say yes! That’s it exactly. I like these sort of moments. When you realize someone else knows what you know. Sees what you see. Feels what you feel.
It is the most basic form of fellowship.
So although I am not currently in a winter of the soul, I have been. And I imagine you have too. If I imagine God to be a lion, there have been times when he has seemed to be in a deep sleep and I cannot wake him. No matter how I pray, what Scripture I read or even memorize, no matter how hard I tug at his mane, I cannot rouse the beast.
I could go on and on. But assuming you can relate, and assuming it is as frigid outside your door as it is mine, let’s take a second to hope for spring. Not because Winter does not have its place. It does. And its eternal purposes. It certainly does. But because it does not have the final word.
Author Mark Buchanan goes on to say:
“But Christ, the Man for All Seasons, meets us even here, in the depth of our wintertime. He waits with us. He prunes us. He breaks our self-dependency and deepens our God-dependency. He brings us into a fresh encounter with the God who raises the dead. And always, the Man for All seasons, leads us out of winter. And what he leads us out into is spring.”
Amen and Amen.
And let’s be fair. Winter isn’t all that bad. Without snow, I wouldn’t have the chance to:
put Harper in her new pink snowsuit (thanks to her grandma Leathers!) and Barney boots...
cuddle my best girl all the more because baby, it's cold outside....
stick Harper in a tree because, well, that's just funny....
or watch Cota set his sites on the next World Cup. Stupid dog.
And so if you are in a Winter of the soul, wait. Christ waits with you.
And if not, then grab your barney boots and go play.