The Why of Spiritual Winter

Share this!

By Kandy Persall

Old Man Winter has his place. He brings us holidays, vacations and our anniversary. Blankets of snow and crystals of ice are beautiful, but after a while, we are ready for spring. There is a larger purpose for winter. It’s necessary for growth.

Winter is an ugly time for most trees. They shed their leaves and reveal the brown desolation of their gnarly branches. As long as a tree is green, leaves soak up all available nutrients for themselves and their fruit. Yet, when autumn strips the beauty of the tree, all of the nutrients funnel into the root system. If the leaves never fall, the roots can’t utilize the nutrients for the tree to grow. Without this appearance of death, new life can’t begin.

While the temperature strips its leaves, a tree begins her hidden work below the surface. Roots of fruit trees grow from 5 to 50 feet under the ground. The deeper the roots, the healthier the tree.

If you live here, you know trees are sparse in arid West Texas. Healthy, thriving foliage is the evidence of purposeful planting, watering, and maintenance. Rare is the tree that survives here without a little helping hand. But once a tree puts down roots here, it withstands some of the fiercest winds. Trees learn endurance from a tender age, relying on underground springs for deep roots.

Not so in wet climates. When water is plentiful, and temperatures are mild, a tree doesn’t have to do much to thrive. Growth is natural because of the abundance of sun and rain, so the roots of the trees often trail just below the surface. These also are easy to uproot when the next storm arrives.

And so, I need spiritual winters.

  • I need the regular stripping away of all my fleshly abilities and achievements to remain humbled without the showiness of greenery. Otherwise, I would be content to nourishing the outer man, rather than the inner one.
  • I need winter to force me to go deeper, so that when the inevitable storms come, I can “resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” (Matthew 13:21; Ephesians 6:13)

Are you experiencing a time of spiritual frost? Could this be your season to defoliate the leafy show to grow deep into the “root who supports you”? (Romans 11:18) Our command is to bear fruit. Let’s then embrace whatever icy season is needed to mature love, joy, and patience within us.

As the Lord works on you to produce purification, you will appear stripped of all your virtues! But in the tree, there is life inside; and as the tree, you are not actually becoming worse, you are simply seeing yourself for what you really are! Know that somewhere deep within the tree of winter there is still the life that produced last spring’s beautiful leaves” – Madame Jeanne Guyon