Winter is hard for some folks. Less sun, more rain, and dreary, cloudy days can be difficult to endure. As Doug and I watched the leaves abandon the trees this past fall and the lackluster days of winter begin, we were reminded the Father, Himself, created this season.
With intentionality, God required the earth and all who inhabit it to experience this particular time when the axis of the earth is oriented away from the sun. We can leave cold climates to visit sunny beaches and tropical islands, but we never really skip this season.
Knowing the Almighty does everything with purpose, I know there’s a reason for this sluggish season. For nature, it seems to be a time of rest. Plants in dormancy prepare for the work of budding and blooming they’ll do in spring. Animals with a built-in hibernation mode escape the cold and a time when food is scarce. Gardeners and farmers prune and transplant as these wonders of nature seem to take a break to conserve energy.
The result? For fruit trees, the rest produces a generation of stronger, more bountiful buds. For hibernators, the rest provides strength for the work they must do in the seasons ahead and, for the dormant trees, their bare branches are renewed with energy to produce lush shade for summer.
You set the boundaries of the earth, and you made both summer and winter.
Just as The Good Shepherd designed nature to rest and provide for the bounty it will produce, He has done the same for the sheep of His pasture. The sabbath – whether weekly, annually, or seasonally – is important for the under-shepherds of His flock.
How can we be all He intends for those we lead without the rest and renewal the winters in our lives bring?