Let’s talk about winter today - the coldest season of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere, it usually last from December to February and in the Southern Hemisphere, from June to August. (Webster online Dictionary)
Just as nature gives us winter seasons in our physical world, we also walk through cold winter seasons in our spiritual life. These can come at any time during the year, no matter whether you live in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere.
I would like to share with you two very cold spiritual seasons of my life this week and next week, and what the scriptures taught me about them. See if you can relate.
Cold Heart Winter Season
Let's start in Song of Solomon, known as the most romantic book of the Bible.
In the first few verses of Chapter 2, Christ is pictured coming to His bride to spend some time with her. The way in which He is approaching her clearly shows that He is full of joy and excitement as He looks forward to spending some intimate time with His bride. He comes leaping over the mountains and bounding upon the hills - swiftly like a young deer. (Vs. 8-9)
When Christ arrives, He looks into the window of His bride’s heart, and says: Rise up, my love, and come away with me. For the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth and the time of the singing of birds has come. Yes, spring is here. The leaves are coming out and the grape vines are in blossom. How delicious they smell! Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. (vs. 10-13)
Spring: A time of nature’s rebirth, and my favorite time of the year. I can tell you that there have been times over the years as I read those verses that I have literally visualized myself leaping into the arms of my Lord. I then visualize Him carrying me up to a grassy hillside, and we sit and view the flowers blooming, the green leaves on the trees, and listen to the birds sing. A more magnificent spring day could not be experienced than the times I have felt as though the two of us were so intimately engrossed with one another.
But, one day as I was reading Chapter 2, I was struck by the fact that before Christ described the springtime to His bride, the first words out of His mouth were about winter. I was curious. What did Christ mean about winter as He looked into the window of His bride’s heart?
Quoting from Matthew Henry’s commentary, he states:
As the earth is to winter, so can our hearts become cold, dark, and barren.
That was definitely a defining moment for me. Having lived in the great state of Maine, I know what it means to live in the depth of winter. There were months of freezing barren days. The flowers were dead and buried in the snow; there were no leaves on the trees, and no fruit was being produced. We certainly couldn’t hear birds singing; they had all flown south for the winter.
Could my heart have actually become that cold? I suddenly realized that it had been a longgggggg time since I had had a time of sitting on that hillside with my Lord having an intimate moment with Him on a spring day. I had seen the warning signs, but I had ignored them: slacked off reading my Bible, not having a set time to pray, storing up offenses from others. Yes, I had allowed so many things to creep into my heart that had, indeed, caused it to become as cold as those winters in Maine.
And so, I bowed my head, asked His forgiveness for all those things that I had allowed to creep into my heart, rose up, and disentangled myself from them. It was then that I heard my bridegroom say ever so eloquently:
“Come away with me. The winter has passed. Spring is here.”
And away we went--- back to that grassy hillside, where we sat and viewed the flowers blooming, the green leaves on the trees, and listened to the birds sing. A magnificent spring day where I once again intimately engrossed with Him. How I love springtime with my Lord.
I could have controlled the length of time of my cold heart winter season
if only I had consistently studied the word, prayed, forgave and blessed
the ones who had hurt me so badly.
What about you? Have you had times of experiencing a cold heart season? Please share your winter story, and what you learned from it.
Join me next week for Part 11 of a winter season that possibly we cannot control, but must embrace.