Sunday, December 18, 2016

Are You Going Through A Spiritual Winter Season?


Winter Season

I hate winter. Well, maybe “hate” is too strong of a word. After all, God did make the seasons and he made them for a reason. So, maybe I should say that I really dislike winter. I don’t know why I dislike it so much. Maybe it’s because of my growing up years. Winters were long and cold in Pennsylvania and we lived in an old drafty farmhouse. I loved the summer. Everything exciting happened in the summer - vacation, warmth, camping, swimming, no school – nothing much exciting happened in the winter. After Christmas in New Years all we had to look forward to was a long, cold, period of super short days. I loved Florida where it was always sunny, and I can tolerate Tennessee winters because they are fairly short. In general, though, I just hate winters.

Winter for me is just kind of a down season. It’s like a season in life that isn’t fun, but you know it won’t last forever and it will end soon. You just have to “keep on keeping on” until better days.

Unfortunately seasons like that aren’t restricted to the calendar nor to life. We can have “spiritual” winter seasons as well. I spent some time today with a boy who is going through a Spiritual Winter Season. Often these seasons aren’t caused by things in our control, but how we respond to them is in our control. This was the case for my 14 year old friend. He was put in a foster home because of things that were out of his control, but now he has found himself in a boys home because of some actions that were in his control.

Before he was put in foster care he was spiritually vibrant. He attended my Thursday night Teen Boy’s Bible study faithfully to the point of having his grandmother call me on the phone every Thursday after school to make sure that I was picking him up.  This past summer he was faithful in helping me with my five-day clubs for kids on our Bible Club Bus. He was my right hand man when it came to setting up the bus with electricity and turning on the fans at each stop that we made. He trusted the Lord about a year ago and was learning and growing and allowing himself to be used by God. Then, he was put in foster care.

I was told that he was attending church regularly in the foster home where he was placed. I prayed faithfully that he would continue to grow in Christ in the environment that he was in. Unfortunately his foster home was two hours away and visitation was limited to just a few hours once or twice a month so I didn’t have too much contact with him. A visit here and there or a phone call occasionally was all the contact I had.

Then, I began hearing of problems he was having  - poor grades, anger issues, destructive behavior. I continued to encourage him when I could, but those times were few and far between. Finally, however, the problems became severe enough that the social workers thought that he needed a different type of help so he was moved to the boy’s home. I guess if their is any consolation it would be that the new place is just an hour away and they have open visitation every Sunday afternoon for a couple of hours. So, I can at least see him regularly.

Winter Season 2

Today was my first time visiting him in the new place. His grandmother came with me. He was vibrant and active. He seemed to like the place even though he had been their only a few days. He was animated when talking with us about how he was doing his chores and had already accumulated 400 points that could be used for a variety of things.

Then, I began talking to him abut the Lord. That’s when he told me he hadn’t been going to church. He then told me that church was an option at the boy’s home and he wasn’t sure he was going to go. I pressed on. I had said that he lost his Bible so I told him that I had picked up a few Christmas gifts for him and that even though I was going to see him again before Christmas, I could give a couple of them to him now. I told him that I had gotten him a new Bible and a devotional book and asked if he wanted me to go out to the car and get them. His answer surprised me. He told me that I didn’t have to. He had better things to do like watch T.V. and hang out with the other boys that were there. Before we left, I prayed with him. I prayed that he would be able to see that God loved him very much and wanted to see him grow.

I had some time to process our visit on the way home. I’m not sure all that is going on but am glad that I can see him a little more regularly and can encourage him in the faith. I pray that this is just one of those Spiritual Winter Seasons that he is going through right now. I pray that God will begin to thaw him out of the spiritual freeze that he is in. I know that he is saved and that God will continue to work in him. I am praying that the thawing will be quick and not too painful.

As I was thinking about everything that happened God reminded me of a song by an old Christian group called Crumbacher. I don’t know how well known Crubacher ever got to be, but I know that I liked them. Their music was unusual and sometimes quirky, but it spoke to me. One of their songs is called Rainy Season. Even though the name of the season is different, it talks about many of the same feelings that I believe my young friend is feeling right now in his Spiritual Winter Season. I found the lyrics and song on YouTube and wanted to share it. After listening could you please remember to pray for my friend. God knows his name. Thanks for praying.

Overcast in my eyes, with the tears about to flow as they rise,
And I question all I know,
So the feelings come and the feelings go, in my storm.

It's just a rainy season sweeping across my sky, (it's just a rainy season)
And I don't need a reason to cry. (I don't need a reason to cry)

Hurricane out at sea,
Should the tempest dare to blow down on me, as I tread the undertow,
So the waters ebb and the waters flow, in my storm.

It's just a rainy season sweeping across my sky, (it's just a rainy season)
And I don't need a reason to cry, (I don't need a reason to cry)
It's just a rainy season sweeping across my sky, (it's just a rainy season)
And I don't need a reason to cry. (I don't need a reason to cry)

Circumstances, like a changing of the wind, may whisper bitter secrets in my ear...but second chances will call my name again; it all depends on if I choose to hear.

It's just a rainy season sweeping across my sky, (it's just a rainy season)
And I don't need a reason to cry, (I don't need a reason to cry)
It's just a rainy season, oh, (it's just a rainy season)
Don't need a reason to cry, (don't need a reason to cry)
It's just a rainy season.
(It's just a rainy season)
(I don't need a reason to cry)

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23

1 comment:

  1. I hope this new Crew year will help sunny days shine through ahead.