It feels like Winter has been with us for a long time. The Winter season of the soul has been one long year, 332 days to be exact. April 2nd 2011 came and went like a fracture in the landscape of my life, the breach between the before and after defined, the crack irreparable. I didn't know that the scars it left behind would lead to anything but pain, didn't know that healing doesn't have to mean the bone grows back together just like it was before. I knew my bones would never grow back together and be the same.
I have felt like have known a hard valley, the one where the shadow of death lingers, where fear and anxiety dwell, but I also have known the promise that He is with me and He guides me (Ps.23:4). Even there He goes with me and it has been true that around me the scenery has been bleak but I have known Him there and come to know Him more deeply and seen more of His goodness. Death was never His plan but He carries us through it anyway.
Yesterday the sun shone warm on my bare shoulders and I knew the season was changing. Everything testifies to Spring arriving, the birds, the land, even my boys. The seasons do change. We can't stop them from coming or going and, just as Winter arrived suddenly like a storm, Spring will come. The bulbs that have been hidden all Winter are still there under the frozen soil just waiting to push up into the warmth and share their joy with all who notice them. The warmth and moisture will draw out the life that is lying dormant, just waiting to burst forth into the garden of God's faithfulness. Even the broken limbs, seared off by the storm, will show new shoots which, given time, will become load bearing branches, strong enough that children can play on them. The tree has not died, it has just been reshaped. The roots still go deep - they have stretched even deeper into the good soil and found all the nutrients they need.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the LORD,
an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. (Isa. 55:10-13)