Huge waves that would frighten an ordinary swimmer produce a tremendous thrill for the surfer who has ridden them. Let’s apply that to our own circumstances. The things we try to avoid and fight against – tribulation, suffering, and persecution – are the very things that produce abundant joy in us. “We are more than conquerors through Him” “in all these things”; not in spite of them, but in the midst of them. A saint doesn’t know the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it. Paul said, “I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation” (2 Corinthians 7:4).South Wind Seasons are enjoyable and provide a sense of peace for us. And they are necessary. But don’t mistake these seasons for the times where you truly grow. The growth typically comes during the North Wind Seasons. Plants don’t bloom until they’ve successfully struggled and eventually pushed through the soil. This is the season where we are in the valley where it’s lush and full of life. The only thing is we don’t realize the beauty of this season until we make the treacherous climb to the top of the mountain. And there, we start a new South Wind Season where we see the beauty of the valley as well as the steep climb we took to get there. Do you see the pattern, friends? We need both seasons to be all Christ wants us to be and to experience His presence that is always with us. Always. I don’t know what season you are in right now but I want to encourage you to embrace it. If you are “living easy” right now in a South Wind Season and even find yourself with some mental, emotional and physical margin, don’t try to fill it. You need this rest. But if your circumstances are challenging right now in this North Wind Season, push through them. Keep praying, keep worshipping, and keep seeking God even when you don’t feel like it. And when you do, I am confident that you will experience true joy. Not in spite of your trials, as Paul mentions, but in the midst of them. You may be praying that God would calm your storm. What He may choose to do is calm you instead. How can I pray for you today?
When Chris and I got married, we learned VERY quickly that marriage wasn’t this blissful state of being all day, every day like we thought it would be. When we began ministering on a staff at a church, we experienced days where we wanted to toss in the proverbial towel. And after trying to become parents for nearly four years, we had our first son, Noah. We were thrown into parenthood and rapidly understood that it was also going to be filled with the good, the bad, and, dare I say it, the ugly. I’m referring to diapers and spit up, not my baby 🙂 If you are alive right now on this earth, you know there are good times and bad times. Chris and I gave a name to the good, easy times. We call them South Wind Seasons. Living in the south we know how pleasant a south wind can be on a very hot day. In these seasons relationships are typically strong. There is a lot of rest and reflection on how blessed we all really are. We “feel” close to God. We often are on top of the mountain and can truly enjoy the view. Everything just feels “right” in this season. It’s a very necessary season that provides a rest from the next season… The North Wind Season. This season is often full of hard, difficult days. When north winds come in the winter, they are bitter cold. It can be an easy 30 degrees outside but with a 40 mph wind out of the north that cuts right through you, you may feel like you’re in North Dakota. It seems like everyday is an effort. Relationships can be strained and take just about everything you have to make it through the day without a fight. You wonder if your prayers are making it past the ceiling. You may have even wondered where God is in the midst of your pain and trials. Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest (March 7th):