Last week we addressed the wintertime of ministry, but maybe it feels like it’s wintertime in your heart right now. You feel dry when it comes to things of the Lord. Maybe you’ve experienced a crisis that has you in a place of pain. God may be asking you to just come sit with Him and let Him love you through this season.
In John 15 we read about the pruning God does in our lives to produce more fruit. During the persecution described in the Book of Acts, we see that persecution (which is truly a winter season experience) led to a refocus on preaching the gospel. So, wintertime is not bad. It’s often preparation for the great work of the Lord.
Maybe it’s the wintertime of your life age-wise. Since I’ve lived through these seasons in ministry and many of them in life at the age of almost 65, I see that aging personally, declining health, or the aging of our parents in body and mind can been seen as “the end” of life as we knew it. Perhaps it is, but perhaps God has something even greater now for you. Don’t let the enemy stop you from following and serving Christ. Instead ask the Lord, “Now, how do I serve?”
I love the beach (thus my propensity for warm weather). One year I watched as the waves were very rough right at the shoreline, but they were smooth further out. As kayakers were trying to get past the waves, they struggled over and over to move out further. Sometimes they just returned to shore. At others times they fought hard to get out to the smoother water.
As I watched, I wondered what would stop me from heading deeper with the Lord? Would age, or death of a ministry, or some other crisis? As my family faced a devastating crisis one spring, a friend of mine sent me a note that said, “This is just another wave your family will survive as you will go deeper into the reservoirs of His grace again and find it sufficient!”
As God moved the mountain, I saw Him bring new life to our family. He even used the winter to drive us to Him and go deeper than ever before. Someone once said, “God only moves the mountain when it’s in the way of His will.” Otherwise He will use that mountain to make us more like Him.
Without the winter, I do not think I would really appreciate the spring and summer. One year as winter approached, a friend and women’s ministry team member at my church told me to “bundle up and embrace the winter!” That particular year I decided to do just that. It changed my perspective each time the temperatures dropped and snow or ice accumulated. I think God smiled that year and said, “OK, this year will be much milder” just for me!
Let’s proclaim with Job as he said: “Yet He knows the way I have taken; when He has tested me, I will emerge as pure gold.” (Job 23:10).
You are called to the season of ministry and life that you find yourself in today. As we wrap up the series on Leading through the Seasons, ask God where you are as you serve and grow deeper with Him. Ask what He has for you to learn in the exact season where He has you. Watch for the new beginnings of spring, the fruit and growth of summer, the changes and harvest of the fall, and the time of refocusing in winter.
Remember, ALL seasons are necessary. Do not quit too soon or you will miss the next one.
To learn more about the seasons of life and ministry, get a copy of Dr. Jeff Iorg’s book that has inspired this series, Seasons of a Leader’s Life.