The Promise Of Spring-
I have a friend who once lived in Arizona. She hated the climate and never understood the “desert rats” that adore the 118-degree weather. She spent the first 16 years of her life in Michigan and missed the beauty of tall oak and maple trees. Each distinct season was appreciated. She told me Arizona only had two seasons: Summer and a lukewarm winter.
The xeriscaped yards absent of all grass but filled with prickly pear cactus were not her idea of paradise. She yearned for a new setting. While living as a desert dweller, she lived through a very dark time. Her brother died in a mountain climbing accident, a serious relationship that was leaning towards marriage ended abruptly, and her mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. These were days she wanted to escape from, very much like the desert environment she disliked so much.
“I knew you in the wilderness, in the land of great drought.” Hosea 13:5 (NKJV)
There are four seasons in a year and my friend was anxious to move out of her unhappy spiritual winter season. She longed for spring and wanted moments filled with hopeful promises and spiritual seeds of growth.
Can someone remain permanently trapped in a spiritual desert, where no water flows and there isn’t any fruit for your labors?
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (NIV)
“’For the LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He knows your trudging through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing.”’ Deuteronomy 2:7 (NKJV)
No. The answer is no, so long as you remain tucked under the protective wing of Jesus. No labor of love done in the name of Jesus is without fruit. The enemy is good at stealing hope and joy. Personal disappointments can overwhelm and lead us into complacency.
“He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91:4 (NIV)
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Matthew 4:1 (NKJV)
One day, my friend offered a very short but heartfelt cry for help. She asked God to provide a season of spring. Fervent prayers always find a way into the throne room of God. It is not the length of a prayer that matters. Eloquent words can’t impress the Creator of the spoken language. Rather, God looks for a contrite and broken heart, one that is ready to accept His will and trust that His promises are faithful.
“For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:14 (NKJV)
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16 (NKJV)
Her complete submission and brokenness, brought an answer to her prayer. God had granted a new spiritual season… Springtime! Rejoicing in this hopeful assurance, she watched for things to change.
She waited. She waited and watched with expectancy. But the springtime she had imagined was very different from the springtime God had designed. There were no green forests with flowers in her near future. No, her springtime was still in the desert.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)
“I will open rivers in desolate heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.”
Isaiah 41:18 (NKJV)
“The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.” Isaiah 35:1 (NKJV)
There was a very basic lesson God wanted her to learn. A lesson that only time in a desert wilderness can teach. So, what was the lesson? Like so many truths of God, it was simple and pure. Beauty exists in every season and every destination God places His children, we need only to look for the virtue and benefit.
The scales of hopelessness that had grown over her spiritual eyes fell away with this Holy Spirit revelation. Slowly, God revealed the growth within her spirit, and she was surprised. This is because she thought time had stood still during her slumbering spiritual winter.
As with plants, we also need a winter season. Winter is a time to rest and sit at the feet of Christ. It is a time to lay aside the busyness of life and fellowship with God, focusing on our relationship with Him. It is a necessary season for all believers. From this time, we build up strength for the spring planting, summer crop tending, and fall harvest. It increases our perseverance, patience, and trust in God. Our spiritual muscles are exercised during times of adversity and loss. We do not always have to be busy with multiple ministries to be a productive child of God.
“And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” Luke 10:39-40 (NKJV)
Although His 40 days in the desert was a designated time of testing, Jesus grew stronger from the experience. It was a necessary season because it fortified Him for what lay ahead. His lonely desert existence took place right before He entered full-time ministry. It prepared the Son of God for what He must endure to fulfill His Father’s will.
Jesus understands what it means to be thirsty. He understands our desire for springs of water that rejuvenate. If you are presently in a desert wilderness, remember Christ is with you and He promises good things to come. Look for beauty in your day, because it is there! When you discover a flash of loveliness and grace, praise Him. As you continue searching for beauty in unlikely places, you will discover an attitude change. Contentment flushes out all bitterness and turns weeping into dancing.
“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.” Psalm 30:11 (NIV)
“ For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NKJV)
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)