This weekend I did some gardening. Leaves fell all around me, as I dug holes in my flower garden and planted bulbs of crocus and lilies. I planted them with an eye to springtime, imagining how pretty they would appear popping up through the melting snow. Although the air around me was warm, the soil was cold to the touch and seemed harder to manage.
The soil in this particular part of my garden was clay. Soil fascinates me, and teaches me lessons about my heart. Often, when working with soil, I find myself reminded of the parables Jesus taught regarding the soil and its similarity to the condition of the heart. For example, clay has to have hard and sometimes sharp particles added to break it up and allow drainage to occur. It often retains too much moisture, causing the roots to rot. It can be so stiff that some roots never break through and become established.
So it is with my heart. The hard and difficult places in life are often the very things that break up the hardness of my heart, allowing the bitterness and anger pent up within it to drain out. Without proper drainage of bad attitudes and negative dispositions, the root system of my life becomes saturated with too much self absorption or self pity. If it remains stiff and hard, the new things God is trying to teach me become defeated and are unable to be established within me.
That balmy afternoon, while planting bulbs, the coldness of the soil surprised me. I had never thought about soil temperature in regard to my heart. Consistency, texture — these I had always recognized. Temperature? Never before. It made me ponder . . . is winter necessary to the life cycle of plants? Could it be that a season of coldness is necessary even to the heart? This idea bothered me.
Looking back on my life, I could see definite seasons of coldness. The season following the death of a loved one, the times when disappointment had come or when my prayers seemed unanswered — admittedly these occasions sometimes brought coldness to the soil of my heart.
However, I could also see how the cold spell had always moved on into incredible seasons of life and light. Seasons where my heart felt as if it had inhaled the fresh smell of rain, and when life held great expectancy! Cold, dull times melted into times of hearing more clearly the voice of God and understanding what He had been teaching me.
Still the question remained . . . was this season necessary in my heart?
Genesis 8:22 records, “While the earth remains, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Another scripture records “there is a time for everything.”
It would seem that seasons of cold are an inevitable part of life, and that my own heart is very susceptible to entering a winter season.
As to the necessity of a season of coldness in my heart? I’m still pondering it. . .