Purple Iris and tangerine and lemon-colored lily bulbs burrow, roots reaching down for warmth in my Tennessee red-clay garden. The once rioutous pink, blue, purple and yellow flowers have retreated to their roots, and butterfly lures are just clacking sticks in the wind.
Winter is a faith-is-the-substance-of-things-hoped-for,-the evidence-of-things-not-seen” kind of season.
The deceiver tries to hood-wink stray thoughts into believing it’s a dead time, a separated-from-God time.
Winter from 753-717 B.C. was nameless – no January and February – just gaping, no-name nothingness (50 Ways Italian Genius Shaped the World, Sprezzatura). I don’t know about you, but it tests my resolve, my confidence – when I cannot put a name to something – like the knocking sounds in the basement or when one son’s stomach hurt for 5 years, or when we didn’t know if our only child would turn into an older brother.
Not knowing is hard.
Not knowing is a winter-time season of a prayer sent out, like a nameless January and February.
Each Winter asks us to wait.
Each Winter demands faith.
Paperwhite bulbs on the sill remind me to have faith.
Snow falling is a faith dance from heaven to where I am, reminding me He hasn’t forgotten me in the winter of a prayer journey – where things are happening that I just don’t see.
But He does. He sees. And prayer returning will burst forth into riotous blooms – maybe not quite what I thought I was planting, but more wonderful than I imagined.
Something powerful is going on in this seeming nothingness of long nights, cold paths that don’t invite long walks, air that tingles against cheeks as if saying – “Go back in. We’re not ready for you, yet.”
Winters are for discipline or grace or extravagant love – and the emerging spring of a prayer answered is more beautiful because of it!
“He orders the snow, ‘Blanket the earth!’
and the rain, ‘Soak the whole countryside!’
No one can escape the weather—it’s there.
And no one can escape from God.
Wild animals take shelter,
crawling into their dens,
When blizzards roar out of the north
and freezing rain crusts the land.
It’s God’s breath that forms the ice,
it’s God’s breath that turns lakes and rivers solid.
And yes, it’s God who fills clouds with rainwater
and hurls lightning from them every which way.
He puts them through their paces—first this way, then that—
commands them to do what he says all over the world.
Whether for discipline or grace or extravagant love,
he makes sure they make their mark” (Job 37: 6-13)