I was extremely tired as I drove down the country road, so maybe that’s why I finally understood the answer to my question. Being a summer person, I had been asking over and over throughout my lifetime, “God, why do you give us this season of winter? Everything is dead. It is ugly unless it snows, then we have trouble getting around.” I was the pot, not exactly arguing with my Maker, but kind of–pleading for answers.
As I continued to drive slowly down the winding ribbon of a road, I became increasingly aware the winter, which I had always associated with death, was upon us. But on this day, I didn’t sense that nature was dead, but sleeping peacefully. The quiet serenity tugged at my heart, for I too longed to rest. As I looked out over the countryside, realization dawned and I knew the answers to my questions about winter.
The ground had been plowed, planted, and fertilized in the spring, then had spent the summer growing. When fall arrived, a time of harvesting yielded its crop and now it was at rest. Animals born in the spring had grown to adulthood in the summer and fall. Now, they were hibernating or hidden away from the harsh elements, going out only to forage for food. The plants that had sprung to life in the spring, and burst into summer and autumn blooms, now seemed to have withered and died. But, secretly I knew they were lying dormant, resting their bulbs and roots underground. Trees had been through their cycles too. Now, their branches lifted heavenly as God blessed them with rest. All of nature has ceased to strive and I sensed the stillness as the silent snow began to fall. The earth had drifted off in a peaceful sleep. That my friends, is why God gave us winter— it is a time of rest and renewal, all in preparation of a time of rebirth. Will we ever learn?
In the winter silence I realized that God wants mankind to cease their striving, too. He wants us to stop our frenzied lifestyles and do the same—to put down our work, our busyness, our running to and fro, and rest. But we have been wired by our fast-paced lifestyles, our technology that screams for our attention in dings and pings, and we miss God’s message that lies before us in the stillness of a winter day. “Come unto me all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
“I finally get the message, God. But I sense You want me to take it deeper. I’m in the winter of my life. Still, I’m running here and there, trying to fulfill a bunch of commitments that are too cumbersome for me. Are You trying to tell me to slow my steps and take in the stillness of nature? Maybe Your answer about taking a winter’s rest isn’t just about the last season in the yearly cycle. Instead, maybe it’s about resting on a deeper spiritual level and hearing Your still small voice point out things that I may have missed on my life journey.”
What do you think? I don’t know about you, but I’m going to slow my pace and rest on a deeper spiritual level with God, the Father. I’m going to listen real carefully in this season of rest. I don’t want to miss a thing.