Spring comes later here in the Northern American Rockies than in most other places. When others in the U.S. are well into the swing of summer weather and activities, we are still getting spotty snows and frequent frosty mornings. Our gardens are mostly growing on sunny window sills or in green houses. We are preparing soil in our flannel shirts and wearing gloves for more than one reason. We are set on the starting line just waiting for the pistol shot of frost free days and the brief race of short season vegetable varieties against a 100 day growing season. We can’t reliably plant anything here on our place before June first, though many years I plant seeds in the garden and in the windowsill at the same time just to see which one survives until after frost.
Like my garden, I have come through a difficult wintery time of the heart. Without assaulting you with details, I have been through a year or so of nearly total broken heartedness. Several people that I love with all my heart have dissappointed me and hurt me by their rejection of our Lord Jesus and his ways. I have fallen into the icy waters of guilt. “What if I had said this.” or “What if I had done more.” Answerless questions that grew like hoarfrost over my heart and mind. I have been less fruitful, with few sprouts penetrating the permafrost of my brokenness.
But then the warmth of my Savior began to penetrate the unproductive soil of my life. A little here and a little there, snowy patches began to melt and my world began to soften. Gradually the plowing of the word of God began to till places and encourage the dormant shoots of my gifts and callings to reappear. The soft showers of Christian fellowship and the love of my brothers and sisters in the Lord began to find fertile ground and coax out the the sprouts and tendrils of what God has called me to do.
Gradually, I have returned to areas of ministry that were neglected while I cried out to God in brokenness. Sweetly, as only my God can do, he has also added new opportunities and provided the energy to begin working on them. It seemed to be a long, cold, winter to me. I sometimes was concerned that it would be permanent and that I wouldn’t be fertile ground again, but God always knew that the frost free days would come. He had built into my life the elements that would bring them about. What a blessed God we have that hovers always near us whether we are in a season of visible growth, a time of harvest or in a season where things appear dormant under the snows of distress. I am so thankful that He has a reason for every season he permits in my life. I am grateful that chooses to bring the spring again.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.