Growing in Winter


by Marilyn Ehle

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.
-He has made everything beautiful in its time.” 
Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 11

It is autumn where I live and while we still enjoy days of bright sunshine and pleasant temperatures, cool nights suggest that summer is over. Most trees at the lower elevations remain green but aspens on mountain sides now glow with golden leaves.

But if autumn indicates the end of the growing season, why are so many of my neighbors busily working in their gardens? With dirt-smeared hands and small shovels, they dig into soft earth and plant ball-like seeds called bulbs. What kind of crop can they possibly expect when it is very likely that we will have snow in a matter of weeks?

These gardeners know a secret: the bulbs they plant now need long weeks in what will soon be cold ground in order to produce the brilliant colors of tulips and daffodils and the heady perfume of hyacinths when spring arrives.

Do you ever grow weary with the process of Christian discipleship, with memorizing Bible verses, studying the precepts of scripture and other aspects of spiritual discipline? With the advent of the microwave, cell phone communication and the internet, we have become accustomed to much that is instant. Even in the spiritual realm, we frequently expect to see immediate and concrete results, or experience emotional reaction when God is busy planting bulbs so that – at the appropriate time – we will burst into bloom.

Thank you, Lord, for prescribing seasons, both in nature and in our lives. Thank you for the times of blooming but also for the colder days when I may not see results but know with confidence that you are producing growth.

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