We have had a long, cold winter, and it is showing no sign of abating. For people who enjoy skiing and snow-boarding it has been a good winter; however, for most of us it is a case of longing for the spring, and some warmer weather. The Song of Solomon speaks of this in Chapter 2 and verses 11 and 12: “Lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in the land”. This describes the joy of springtime. We complain about the winter, but the farmers tell us that the winter, especially frost. is good for the soil, and makes it better to work with the next spring. Of course continual winter would not be good, because things would not grow at all. The soil needs the winter and the summer.
When the Song speaks about the “winter”, it is speaking about the spiritual winter, the winter of the soul, experienced only by the person who is RightWithGod through Jesus Christ. It is the Lord who is speaking here, and He is rejoicing with the believer that the winter of her soul is over and spring-time has arrived. But then surely He is the one who brings winter on the soul? Yes indeed He is. Why does He do this? Well, just as the soil needs summer and winter in order to be healthy, so it is with the believer’s soul while in this life. Long ago I listened to a recorded sermon where the preacher said, “We must learn to live always in the springtime of revival”. I agreed with him at that time, but now, being many more years on in my spiritual journey, I would strongly disagree, because I have since experienced many summers and winters in my own soul. I have been enriched by both, but I would say that my soul has always been enriched more by trials and afflictions than by the good times, that is the winters rather than the summers.
When we are experiencing a winter of the soul, it is a great help to us that the spring will eventually arrive. It will arrive as soon as that phase of God’s sanctifying work in us is over, when we will be able to say with joy, “the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;” the flowers, the blessings appear, and there is a song in our hearts like the joyful singing of birds.
When things are difficult, and we are experiencing pain and heartbreak, we may even be tried to the point where we say, “Lord take me away”. That day will arrive, but not until the Lord’s work in us is finished. Then, and then only will He come for us and we hear the final, ‘come away with me, my loved, and dearly bought one, time to go. I have worked in thee that which was pleasing in my eyes, the work is now complete’. “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away” to be with me where there is no winter, but perpetual blessedness, eternal rest and pleasures forever more.