She was caught in the act of adultery, but she didn’t know she would also be caught in the cross-hairs of his love. She could taste the humiliation and shame, they were too much for her to swallow, like a mouthful of chalky dust. Her eyes darted left and right, looking for a way to escape the torture that was about to happen- the critical looks, the icy stares, the gawking spectators, and the stones. They threw her out of hiding, her nakedness their prize and public spectacle, and now they were about to throw her to her death.
Cold and shivering, she couldn’t stop shaking with the reality that this was her end. But what she didn’t realize was this: she was perfectly positioned for a rescue. There before her… stood God. Never had a man gazed at her the way He did. Pure. Love. His eyes flickered like flames so bright she could only look away.
His love burned right through the winter of her soul.
Winter had tried to win in her life, convincing her that she’d only ever experience the cold and harsh conditions of being human.
As he knelt in the dust in front of a crowd of fuming religious fanatics with their fists clenched in anger, she heard the voice, out of nowhere, like a bud bursting forth in the coldest month. A poetic whisper shooting through her veins awakening her to a new and unfamiliar season of intimacy.
She felt caught again. But this time it was in the hands of her compassionate Savior.
Get up, my dear friend, fair and beautiful lover—come to me! Look around you: Winter is over; the winter rains are over, gone! Spring flowers are in blossom all over. The whole world’s a choir—and singing! Spring warblers are filling the forest with sweet arpeggios. Lilacs are exuberantly purple and perfumed, and cherry trees fragrant with blossoms. Oh, get up, dear friend, my fair and beautiful lover—come to me! Come, my shy and modest dove— leave your seclusion, come out in the open. Let me see your face, let me hear your voice. For your voice is soothing and your face is ravishing.
Song of Songs 2:14
Commentators cannot agree on what Jesus wrote on the ground that day. But perhaps it’s a ridden with mystery for a reason. His actions speak clear enough don’t they? Bending down in the dusty, ashen snow, God unapologetically turns his back on what the world declares as sure and certain outcomes. He blatantly ignores the naysayers and religious experts with their stiff rules of how things should be.
He instigates a quiet rebellion to the winter seasons of our soul, the sins, and the sufferings that says we are destined to stay trapped, stuck, guilty, deserving of a slow, lonely death.
I observe how the snow covers the crocuses around my yard, their buds frozen solid as winter stays around longer than we expected. I thought spring was coming. Thankfully, miraculously, they are made to survive through thick, icy layers. I bend down to get a closer look, I can feel their pain. Winter has a way of freezing our expectant hearts and cracking our newly formed growth and enlarging dreams. I know this too well.
We all experience winters throughout our lives of varying length and intensity. For some of us, we stand and face the blizzards and whipping winds for months and years at a time. However, like a crocus, we were not made to let winter deliver the final blow. I’ve learned through the years to never let the destruction or darkness of the season stop me from dreaming with Him or listening to Him.
Although I feel naked and exposed compared to the world around me that dresses itself in the warmth of constant productivity and flashy success, God clothes me with an altogether different promise and path for life.
Even in the middle of my winter, when the shadows linger over my broken body and spirit, he unexpectedly invites me into abundance.
He bends down and kneels in our dust. He doesn’t deliver us right out of the pain, but sits with us in it.
When the faces of supposed experts stare and declare over your life- you are not worthy, you will never be healed, your dreams are ridiculous, your vision to small, your sins too great– He writes another story in the dirt beneath your feet.
You are made to withstand the winters dear child, your life will not linger in the land of bleak and dormant forever.
God wants to surprise us with His gifts of hope and restoration in the winter, especially in winter. Even when all we can do is look away from Him, our eyes glued to despairing ground below, ashamed of our nakedness, it’s then we start to come alive.
There, in our lonely looking deserts He writes with His own fingers. Peering through His snow-dust-words our eyes spot the green leaves, colorful crocuses pushing up. New life is coming…
You are a crocus cracking in the cold. Your endless winter pushes you into perfect position for a peculiar kind of rescue. This is your time to rise and reach for God beside you. Keep listening, coming, dreaming, believing, hoping, and awakening to the invitation of new life.
Winter can not win.
* A little note*
Friends, it is my prayer your heart leaps with the assurance of God’s perpetual invitation to life with Him even in your winter seasons. For various reasons and circumstances, these past couple years have felt harsh and quiet for my husband and I, but even here He wants to surprise us with another story amid our coldest months. In December, we were shocked to discover new life being woven in my womb! Come late summer we will be holding a sweet baby in our arms. I write this with utmost respect and gentleness for the winters you are each passing through. May you hear within my testimony an invitation to keep awakening to His arrival around you. He says, Spring is coming!