It’s rather obvious, as I look outside my front door: Green and growing is no longer in vogue. White and icy is what’s in season right now.
Faith in God certainly has its seasons. There are seasons of our spiritual journey in which growth comes quite naturally. Joy springs up spontaneously, thankfulness emerges happily, and sensing God’s Spirit happens repeatedly. There’s nothing quite like a warm springtime in our cheerful souls.
Yet springtime never lasts nearly long enough. At the end of each growing season, we brace ourselves for winter—as the frigid winds sweep into our bare little souls. It’s during the spiritual wintertime that our faith feels a chill, our sense of God’s love gets frigid, and our joy get buried under a heavy snow-pack of weariness and boredom.
The poet of Psalm 80 longed for the days of a spiritual springtime. He remembers the strength and beauty of the former seasons of dramatic spiritual growth and a high-yield faith. Yet those days are over. The little plant of his people’s faith is now struggling to survive through hostile growing conditions. In desperation, he keeps repeating the same plea:
Restore us, O God;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.
As we endure through any season of spiritual chill, let’s keep asking God to continually shine his goodness on us. Psalm 80 reminds us that we don’t have control of the growing conditions into which our lives are planted. We daily rely on God to give us the strength, courage, hope and joy we need to continue to grow in our faith, and in our love for God and for those all around us.
This winter I pray we can all grow to radiate the warmth of Jesus into the cold places of our world that lie just outside our front door.
This week’s Scripture readings: (Links in blue provide on-line Scripture via Bible Gateway.)
- Psalm 80: Longing for Growth, Waiting for God.
- Psalm 81: There’s an “unknown voice” (verse 5) that whispers to our souls. As we consider what God has done in the past and anticipate what he might do in the future, that voice becomes clearer and stronger.
- Psalm 82: God returns to his judge’s chambers. Who will he condemn . . . and who will he defend?
- Psalm 83: Our Psalmist engages in a little “potty talk” regarding God’s enemies (verse 10). It’s an effective way to pray against whatever enemies are currently attacking your faith and hope.
- Psalm 84: On the road of faith, we often we feel far from home. This psalm offers words of hope and peace for the difficult legs of the journey.
- Psalm 85: Who doesn’t enjoy a good kiss? Check out the divine smooch described in verse 10. Let’s pray this happy reunion takes place always and often in our lives and church.
- Psalm 86: We battle daily with both the circumstances around us and the struggles within us. Our poet concludes this psalm with a plea for a honest-to-goodness sign of God’s presence and power. That’s something we all could use.