It is a joy to be in the English countryside at this time of the year. As spring has given way to summer, there has been a bursting forth in gardens, fields and hedgerows, producing a profusion of vibrant greens and colourful blooms. Because there was so much rain in the early spring, as well as some fine, sunny weather, the new growth is extraordinarily lush. However, only a few months earlier the trees were bare and the fields and hedgerows dormant. All looked dead and unproductive.
As I was marvelling at the beauty, and the amazing growth that had come from seemingly dead trees and ground, I felt God reminding me that, just as winter is a preparation for spring, summer and the harvest to come, He is at work in all seasons of our lives. When nothing appears to be happening, and we feel as if we are in a dry or ‘winter’ season, it may be that He is using this time as a testing ground and preparation for the next season.
Before Jesus began His ministry, just after He had been baptised and the Holy Spirit had come upon Him, we are told in Luke 4:1-2 that He was ‘full of the Holy Spirit … and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.’ It wasn’t a mistake – He was led there by the Spirit! If we find ourselves in a dry place, undergoing attacks from the enemy, it is easy to think that it must be our fault – that we must have done something wrong! However, in Jesus’s case, He had been led there by the Spirit. It was part of His Father’s plan for Him in preparation for what was to come. The fruit of that is shown by the fact that He went into the desert ‘full of the Holy Spirit’ and returned to Galilee afterwards to begin His ministry ‘in the power of the Spirit’ (Luke 4:14).
If you feel as if you are in a dry season at the moment, facing temptation and taunts from the enemy, be encouraged! This may be a time of testing and preparation for the next season in your life. Jesus never gave in to temptation. He held firm through all the forty days, and He resisted every temptation that the enemy put His way, using Scripture like a sword. If we do this, perhaps we too will come through the desert time ‘in the power of the Spirit’, ready for the next season that God has for us.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You are at work in all the seasons of my life, even when it feels as if I am in a desert and under attack. Thank You that You never leave me, and that You have given me Your word to use as a sword against the enemy. Please help me to stand firm during these times. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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