This is the 4th blog in a series called “Life on the vine.” The theme is taken from John 15:5-7.
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot . . .
The winter season can be a time of great inconvenience and misery; the time of year when the days are short, the air is cold, and plans are disrupted. On this February day in Southern Oregon, the vineyards in the Rogue Valley look like rows of dark sticks. However, what meets the eye – that which appears lifeless – is not lifeless at all. The vines have succumbed to the dormant season, a time of invisible activity where the branches are being prepared for the next season of growth.
Just as the vines must yield to winter for the miraculous sprouting of their buds in the spring, we too must become aware of the how God uses the dormant seasons of our lives to prepare us for greater growth.
Are you experiencing the dormant season now?
Does God seem silent? Are your dreams and visions for the future lifeless and not coming to fruition? Have your plans been disrupted and now you are on a different path than you wanted to be? Has your health caused you to slow down and not be as active? If your answer is yes, then you just might be in the dormant season of your life.
The dormant season can stoke your belief that your branches are as dead as a doornail and that they can’t possibly bear fruit again. It is during this season that your faith needs to be cultivated.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Also, it is time for the words of Jesus to resonate in your heart.
Remain in Me, and I will remain in you.
It is during the dormant season when you need to bring your mug of hot tea or coffee to a chair, wrap yourself in a blanket, sit still, open your Bible and your heart and enter the presence of God. It is in these still moments – with just you and God’s Word – when you start to understand the workings of God in your life and how He is preparing you for greater things.
But you’ve got to be patient. You may be sitting in that chair day after day crying out to God before your winter is over.
I love the lyrics and music of Laura Story’s song, Blessings. “What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know Your’re near. What if the trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise.”
As you sit on that chair, are you willing to listen, learn, wait and adjust your thinking and perceptions of what should be?
3 I will give you hidden treasures,
riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the Lord,
the God of Israel, who summons you by name.
Just like the dormant season conceals the invisible work that is happening inside the vine and branches, you must understand that the answers to your questions during a time of waiting or suffering will not be obvious or readily found. You’ll need to look deeper into your soul as you read the Word of God; and it is there – in the patient surrender of your heart – the hidden treasures of truth will be revealed. You will then know that God is summoning you by name, even in the darkness where your branch is found to be barren.
Dormancy in plants is only broken when they have endured a certain amount of time with temperatures between 32- and 45-degrees Fahrenheit. The growth inhibitor protects the tree from growing because if temperatures warm too early, a brief period of an early frost can cause damage to the branches. This period of cold is called the “chill requirement.” We also must be subject to the “chill requirement” (God’s perfect timing) for our character to be fully tested and cultivated so that our spring will be glorious.
My friend Diane often texts me with this message, “Let me know when I can call you. I want to tell you about my quiet time this morning and if you have time to pray.”
One of those quiet times she shared with me is from Exodus 32 in the Old Testament. While Moses was on the mount receiving the law of God, the people were getting weary of waiting for Moses to reappear.
When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.” 2 Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”
Diane shared with me that when we are waiting for a long time for an answer from heaven, we can create our own idols or gods to worship. How quickly we can give up on God when the going gets rough. But Diane told me she will not turn her earrings into a golden calf. She will continue to thank God and praise him during this winter season of her life.
As I was writing this blog post, I found a card my daughter gave me when she was 7 years old. I thought about what was going on in my life at that time she gave me this card, and then I realized she penned these words when I was going through a dormant season in my life.
Thank you Lian for reminding me that, yes, everything is going to be alright. Every dormant season of my life has ended with the emergence of spring. Hang tight, your spring is coming.