Archive for the ‘Divine Deadness’ Category

I was taking a good Sabbath walk around my property yesterday and it was probably as good as any devotional time I could have had with God. It’s Spring and soaking in its beauty was as restful as soaking in a tub.

The scents and colors of the budding lilacs, the hope of the apple blossoms, the explosive crabapples and even the promise of the wisteria conspire to take us down the road of grace.

Just several weeks ago, all of these same trees, bushes and vines seemed lifeless. Much was invisible thanks to persistent snow. But today, you need a machete just to walk through their boisterous growth.

We can’t move south in our spiritual lives. There is no escaping the ‘lifeless’ seasons. It happens to all of us. Perhaps God is graciously dealing with one or more particular issues in our lives and the lessons keep repeating themselves like a good professor. These winter tests never seem to end.

But someday, the cooperative pilgrim will be able to take a Sabbath walk around that same part of life and be enthralled by what The Good Professor had in mind all along. Winter seems so long that its hard to imagine the snow melting, no less the intoxicating visual and aromatic cacophony that’s displayed after that same Teacher filed those harsh exams.

The clincher is that other people will be drawn to take a stroll around our ‘grounds’ as well.
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.” Luke 22:31-33

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When I was three or four, I distinctly remember losing my toes. Or so it felt lacing and unlacing my skates in the dead of winter alongside Horseshoe Pond.

Never liked bone-chilling temps. They got in the way of my basketball, football, baseball bat, bike and all the really important things.
As I got older, winter seemed to get in the way of picnics, hanging out on the porch, long walks and even longer days. For many years, I would get a little depressed in the autumn just knowing that Old Man Winter was around the bend.
Actually, getting too weaned off the harshness of the season by good furnaces and wood stoves is dangerous to our mental and physical health. For example, I just got a sore throat from the dryness in the house. Too cushy makes us mushy.
I decided to go for a walk and breathe in the deep, cold air. It worked for my body. My sinuses and throat felt better. Then, it worked for my soul.
I recently moved to a more rural area and I’m getting to know our property better. Winter allows for that. First, lyme-carrying ticks are bedded down and you can walk without fear. Secondly, the trees strip and their nakedness unveils a vulnerable view. It removes the camouflage of the deer, allows you to see the contour of the forest’s floor and the depths of its woods.
The barrenness of winter also provides overviews that summer cannot. And there’s a slowness to winter, trudging through snow, being careful on ice and cautious with dangerous temperatures.
I had recently been bemoaning that my career is going so slow. God is in the slow … and snow. It allows you to think upon Him who designed the seasons of nature and our lives. For when life is bountiful and lush, we can’t seem to slow down and can’t see as far. We are too preoccupied with the tasks of the bounty.
It made me think of a life-changing scripture that describes this divine ‘deadness.’ “For I will not drive them [enemies] out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you.” Exodus 23:29
Land becomes desolate when you don’t have the time to plow, seed, weed and harvest. And the beasts of the field need to be managed. 
Wisdom comes with age. Maybe that’s why they call him “Old Man” winter.

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