To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven
My kids have been asking for strawberries and grapes a lot lately and since we are currently living in Indiana (in the middle of winter) I am having a lot of conversations about how this is "not the best season" to buy certain types of produce. Sure, I can buy produce shipped in from Spain but it's going to be expensive and not super fresh. All these conversations about seasonal produce have caused me to wonder if there are any types of plants (besides evergreens) that thrive in winter. It turns out there are several types of flowers and berries that bloom (even with a covering of snow) and several hearty vegetables like Kale and Cabbage that are actually sweeter when grown in cold temperatures. So there you go.
I tell you all of that to lay the groundwork for something new that the Lord is teaching me - there are certain types of fruit that God wants to produce in my life that can only grow in uncomfortable seasons. I currently find myself in a season of "waiting" and since I am a person who likes action steps, waiting is not my favorite. But instead of praying that God will end this season as quickly as possible, I now find myself praying that this season will accomplish all of God's purposes in me and bring forth a great harvest. The Lord has completely re-framed my situation allowing me to embrace this unique opportunity to grow in new ways.
Looking back on my life I see that God often used seasons of loss or grief or instability to grow the fruits of His Spirit in my life. In 2010 I lost my job, and lost a baby and we struggled financially and it was a really hard time. But do you know what? When I look back on that year, I call it "the year of peace" because that is what God produced through all of that loss. Those losses left a gaping, wide-open space and God sowed peace through every inch of it causing that painful season to yield a harvest of great joy.
Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.
1 Peter 2:25 calls God the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls. Don't you love that imagery? I love to think about God walking through the fields of my soul and pruning and watering and planting and weeding and making sure that what is being produced is healthy and strong and good. And I am encouraged to think that these uncomfortable or dry or cold seasons of my life are not wasted. The Overseer of my soul is leveraging all things for His gospel purposes in my life.
Friends, if you are in a wintry season, trust that the One who oversees your soul is producing something in you that grows best in cold climates. Embrace this season and look with hope toward a joyful harvest.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
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