I have been reading “Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus in Every Season of Your Soul” by Mark Buchanan. In it he discusses each season of the year as a picture of the state of our soul at varying points in our life. For those who are not familiar with his writings he is deeply spiritual with the ‘soul of a poet’. He encourages readers not to read in a linear fashion but to go to the season to which they are most drawn. I must confess I am reading it in a linear fashion, so far, partly because I was drawn to the chapters on Winter which begins the book. I have had some modest experience with winter. Buchan points the person trudging through winter to Psalm 88. It is a psalm written by the sons of Korah who authored several psalms, most quite upbeat!
Psalm 88 though is quite different. The psalmist write as a first person, as if though a collective there is one shared experience. The voice in psalm speaks of : crying out, a soul full of trouble, feeling cut off, abandoned by friends, being grief stricken, suffering and darkness being its closest friend. That sounds like a terrible winter! Yet at the same time the psalmist expresses a very orthodox theology. We read about: the God who saves, His wonders, His faithfulness, and His righteousness.
Buchanan suggests that walking through winter does not have to do with our beliefs but is a season that we live in and hopefully walk through. He suggests there are works that happen in us in winter which cannot happen in other seasons. One of these he posits, is pruning. Branches can be lopped of in winter, a real cutting back can take place in this low season and this cannot take place in other seasons of the soul. He acknowledges this is painful, sometimes to the extreme. He suggests that when all else is pruned away then we can walk by faith not by sight!
I find his descriptions compelling. On occasion he offers a ‘Time In” which is quite different from a time out. In it he invites the reader to go deeper in meditation on the seasons. I am enjoying this book ( if enjoying is the right word) and highly recommend it!
I spent a long day yesterday, like many Canadians, shovelling snow. The metaphor of winter is visceral for us. My wife has just begun to recover from a fractured knee and had another fall, this week on the ice. She broke an arm, this time. Winter has come visiting our household again. But we live as those who walk by faith not by sight.
Thank you for those who encouraged me. I did enter my poem in the contest. I will keep you informed of how it turns out.