Barrenness {}10 The rain and the snow
    come down from the sky.
They do not return to it
    without watering the earth.
They make plants come up and grow.
    The plants produce seeds for farmers.
    They also produce food for people to eat.
11 The words I speak are like that.
    They will not return to me without producing results.
They will accomplish what I want them to.
    They will do exactly what I sent them to do.

Isaiah 55:10-11  (NIRV)

Outside, everything is cold.  Everything is dreary.  Everything is tinged with the browns and grays of decay.

It mirrors my inside – my soul.

I feel like a wasteland.  Nothing seems to take root.  Nothing appears to grow.  I am too cold and dark.  My heart isn’t fertile.  It is frigid and frozen like the tundra.

I feel like each day brings a new test.  A test that is so simple, but one I still fail.  It is like the most basic lessons have escaped my understanding.  I fail to practice what I study the night before or learn in church.

I feel like I am in a constant state of repentance for my inadequacies and shortcomings.  I just can’t get anything right.  No matter how hard I pray, I still founder.  No matter how much I seek, I remain clueless.  No matter how apologetic I am, I can’t offer sufficient penance.

Then I read this passage from Isaiah.  Like a beacon in the night, it whispers to me of promise and hope.   It guides me back home, to the truth.  It serves as a reminder that God is still working.

When it seems like the world has gone cold and decay surrounds me.  When I am sure, I am nothing more than an unfruitful wilderness.  When the debilitating chill of this world overcomes me, God is working.

This barrenness is nothing more than the winter, and it has a purpose.

No matter how barren the earth may seem, there is life there.  Soon, plants will burst forth, bearing both seeds for future growth and food for people to eat.

No matter how barren my soul may seem, there is life there, too.

God’s will is going to be fulfilled.  His word is valuable fertilizer.  I will produce fruits according to His will.

Winter is the season of decay – decay of my flesh, the decay of my worldliness, the decay of my past, the decay of everything standing between me and the will of God.  I have to have that, if I am going to move forward in Christ.

When things seem useless, I pray that God restores my resolve.  I pray that He gives me strength to keep going – to keep seeking Him through all of the rain and snow.  I pray that He continues to work.  Though I feel desolate, I know He hasn’t left me.  I know that His will is going to be carried out in my life.  I pray that He guides me, and molds me, and prepares me.  I pray that He makes my heart a fertile ground where His word can grow and produce both seeds to spread and fruit to sustain.

And I thank Him, for the promise, hope, grace, and love left for me in His word.