Springtime in the Heart

It has been a rather mild winter in Ohio. The sun is shining and the ground green. Though the physical season is winter, it looks a bit more like spring. It is almost like a gift to me because I find myself in a spiritual spring right now. As such, I am about “springtime” activities to prepare and cultivate my soul for the seasons to come.

In spiritual winter, you feel a sense of dread. Life seems hopeless, lost, and bankrupt (Psalm 88). Loneliness is the theme though you may actually be surrounded by people who love and care for you. You want to be alone, but you fear the silence. Winter without a focus on Christ can be desperate. In Him, though, we find light and hope. In Christ, we learn to enjoy the silence and learn to wait well. God was leading me into a greater understanding of the spiritual seasons and rhythm of my life during winter, and He was faithful to see me through this dark time.

Waking Up

Now, I feel as if I’m opening my eyes for the first time after the long winter. I’m viewing God from a different perspective. He isn’t hidden; He’s in plain view. He’s leading me on to new places. I’m also viewing myself differently. I look in the mirror as see what seems to be something new. This newness is actually a gift of winter’s work in my life. I’ve laid aside the feeling of dread I once had and have begun running the race set before me with new vigor. In my spiritual spring, I’m more focused. I see new opportunities where others may struggle to see anything but the mundane. I take joy in hope and anticipate what wonders God will work each and every day. I am, in a word, renewed. I am obtaining “gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 35). Yet, I cannot neglect the work of spring in my joy of being in spring.

Plowing the Soul

From the wilderness of winter, God desires to make a new way in my spring (Isaiah 43:19). He breaks through these desolate places with His beautiful and unchanging Word. So for me to know the way in which I should go, I should refocus on the way God has called me to go. Far from being a mystery of “finding God” or “finding myself,” I focus on His revealed Word to guide my springtime steps. I allow the Word of God to cultivate my soul by plowing and enriching its soil.

Currently, I am actively reading God’s Word and cannot seem to get enough. This is a stark contrast to the trudging and contemplative spirit of winter. In spring, I am reading through God’s Word from cover to cover. Each page is brimming with God’s activity both then and now – yes, even in Leviticus. It’s amazing what your mind and heart will find fascinating in spring. Lest we deceive ourselves and be hearers of the Word only (James 1:22), we take care to balance our springtime activity with action.

Sowing the Seed

In spiritual spring, we sow the seed of God’s Word in our freshly plowed souls. We sow, not with a selfish motivation, but with a heart desiring to feed those around us. “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (1 Corinthians 9:6). We know that our “God is able to make all grace abound” to us, and we trust that He will supply us with seed enough for us and all those He places in our lives. The purpose of our sowing, according to Scripture is clear. “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God” (1 Corinthians 9:11).

Faith comes alive in spring, and our sowing should be abundant and motivated by generosity. I can’t wait to share the things I’ve learned with my wife, my children, and those whom God has placed in my life and under my care. My challenge is to be concise so as not to overwhelm those in other spiritual seasons! Yet my focus in all my planting should be to give of my heart and life to others. In choosing to spend more time with those in spiritual winter, God may use His work in me to reveal the light at the end of the tunnel for them. In sowing bountifully, I may spark a happy reflection for those in fall who are reaping what they had once sown. I am also reminded that what I sow, I will also reap. In sharing life with those in summer, my busyness is kept in check by seeing their complete enjoyment in placing life in the hands of a loving God. In this we see that our lives are not our own, nor are our lives for us. We live in community – in a family. We share with our relatives that together we will “produce thanksgiving to God.”

The Heart of Spring

I’m seeing more clearly than ever that the spiritual life is not simply about what we hear or what we do. The work of spring is not simply that I am sowing but how I am sowing. Is my desire to earn God’s favor? If so, my mind is set on my efforts as opposed to the goodness of God. Is my desire to make others think highly of me? If so, my heart is for myself and not for others. Is my desire to sow in an effort to store up for my own harvest? If so, my soul is shrinking in selfish pursuit. Is my motivation in spring to do all things with a bent toward generosity? If so, my life mimicks that of my Father’s. In the spirit of generosity, I find that I am loving my God with all my heart, soul and strength and loving my neighbor as I would myself.

I have not done well in previous years, but I am refocused this spring. I am waking up, allowing God’s Word to plow my soul, and sowing bountifully so that I may be as generous as possible in my love, time and praise. For all that God has seen me through, this seems a “reasonable act of worship” (Romans 12:1).

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  1. […] touch can melt the icy cold of winter and open your heart and eyes to a glorious spring. Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like […]

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