“My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties, see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy you can! For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things. And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.” | James 1:2-4 (The Passion Translation)
Not too long ago, I walked through a season during which I had the song ‘Seasons’ by Hillsong on repeat. If you haven’t heard the song, you should! You can listen to it here. ‘Seasons’ was released as part of a Christmas album and speaks of the purpose of seasons of winter in our lives. Not long after its release, I found myself reflecting on the year that was. At the beginning of the year, I thought it would be my season, that my time to see dreams fulfilled had finally arrived. It didn’t. In fact, it was probably one of my most difficult seasons to date. Full of disappointment, pressure, stress, uncertainty, hurt and confusion. Time and again, the enemy would attempt to steal my peace (at times succeeding), but his antics never achieved permanent damage. Why? I drew myself closer to God.
Sure, I had my moments when I was angry at God and disappointed by the delay in His intervening. But each day, as difficult as it was, I chose to run toward Him rather than running away from Him. And I’m glad I did. Each time I found myself raw and vulnerable in the presence of God, He would minister to my heart in the deepest of ways.
I believe there is a purpose for the winter. During the winter, the days are shorter and the nights are longer. The lows seem to outweigh the highs. When you do experience the highs, they seem to be ever so momentary before you find yourself at the bottom of another mountain. What I learned during my winter season, is that the longer nights provide an opportunity for God to shine His light on us in a way He could never do during the day. The day illuminates everything around us, making us more susceptible to the distractions we’re surrounded with. During the day, we can so easily get carried away pursuing the things we think God wants for us. On the other hand, though the night may not be as pleasant as the day, the darkness allows God to illuminate the very things He wants us to focus on.
“You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light.” | 2 Samuel 22:29
God’s light brings clarity of vision and enables us to see things as God sees them and not as they seem. With clarity comes direction. And when we know which way to go, we have the ability to move forward, regardless of the darkness that may surround us. Through the darkness, we learn to depend on God when we realise we can’t do it alone. Our trust goes deeper and our faith grows larger. We may not have the ability to see what is happening around us, but it does help us to fix our eyes on Jesus (the source of our light), all the more.
So, as hard as the winter season was to walk through, I am grateful. Just like a seed, when we are buried, it’s so that we can grow. Remember, winter is followed by spring. Have hope!
Have you walked or are currently walking through a season of winter? How has this impacted your relationship with God? I’d love to hear more from you, please share your comments below!