It was during a recent time of fasting, confession and repentance the Lord brought to my attention that my sense of personal intimacy with Him in my private devotions had diminished. I was still praying, still walking faithfully with Him—my sense of who I am in Jesus Christ had not changed. But out of the challenges of the season just behind me, I hadn’t been spending the amount of intimate time I had been accustomed to—just “being with Jesus” and feeling the nearness of His presence. With my confession of that neglect there came the tremendous release of a tender sense of the Lord’s nearness, as well as a clarity I hadn’t even realized had been dulled. It was as if my soul had been in a state of “winter,” and now I sensed His loving call to “spring” forward.
“Tell the people the winter is past,” the whisper of Jesus came, “the ‘winter’ that would come and chill anything in your own soul or your relationships with others… the ‘winter’ that would bury you under an avalanche of circumstance and dull your sense of nearness to Me.”
Dear ones, I believe the Lord’s word to “spring” forward to abundance will rejoice, encourage and lift our hearts toward the prospect of the season ahead.
Answer the Call of Our Beloved
The Song of Solomon is agreed on by Bible scholars to be an Old Testament depiction of the love of Jesus, the King, for the Church—the deep affection and commitment of intimate spiritual relationship is presented in the natural figure of romantic love within the context of marriage between King Solomon and his dearest wife. It is our Beloved Savior who calls us today to “come away” with Him, just as He does in His love song to His bride, the Church.
There is a time to “rise” to the call of our Beloved—a new season is opening before you: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth…” (Song of Solomon 2:10-12). Whatever is the “winter” of your own soul, whatever “rain” of circumstance, we are summoned to rise and come away with our Lord to new dimensions of intimacy and abundance; to new “reign” of His life in ours.
There is a time to “sing”—a new blossoming is breaking forth: “…the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grapes give a good smell. Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away!” (Song of Solomon 2:12-13). Even in the natural, spring anticipates new life. Along with the blossoming that is breaking forth there is a fragrance that forecasts fruitfulness. The beauty of this tender call is that we embrace our Beloved’s summons to step forward into the future and lay hold of all that God has for us. Just as the seasons change in the physical world, our Beloved is calling us to “spring” forward out of the winter past and into abundance—to a new season of advancing with our risen Savior, to the time of Resurrection and life, of victory and rejoicing, and a time of reaching to others with the love of our living Lord.
Receive the Promise of Our Father
God sends seasons by way of plans He has for us, and those plans are His promise to us—for new life, new increase and new abounding in our lives today. Look with me at Psalm 65:
A promise for opening a “New Year”: “You crown the year with Your goodness, Your paths drip with abundance” (v. 11). Though this passage of Scripture is often associated with a new calendar year, when the Lord established the Passover and led His people to deliverance by the blood of a lamb, He said very clearly to them that this would be to them a beginning of days (Exodus 12:2). Passover occurs in the Spring—the fresh start of a new cycle of fruitfulness.
A promise of Life amid the barren places: “They drop on the pastures of the wilderness, and the little hills rejoice on every side” (v. 12). God promises fruitfulness in areas that have been underdeveloped—places that He has created and that we have done nothing to tend. Whatever that barrenness may be in our lives, He says He’s going to breathe life there.
A promise of abounding flocks, of abundant harvest, and of abiding joy! “The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys are also covered with grain; they shout for joy, they also sing” (v. 13). These things all herald new life, new increase and new abounding. The Lord says in His Word how sweetly His goodness will bring His abundance of flow and abounding of flocks—a perfect picture of increased numbers of people that come to Him—the sheep of His pasture that have been lost and are now found and brought back to the Great Shepherd. They are the harvest of John 4:35: “Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” With that comes abiding joy!
I pray there comes a stir of the Holy Spirit into every heart reading this, bringing the expectation that God’s Word warrants to our embracing His grand promise. May every person be able to lay hold of God’s promise of opening a new year, His promise of life amid the barren places, and His promise of abounding of sheep coming into His Kingdom—born again and born anew. May there also come a sense of God’s promise abounding in the harvest of your own soul and life, and let His abiding joy become strength to you as you “spring” forward, out of the coldness of winter, and into the abundance and advance of our risen Savior.
Copyright 2014 by Jack W. Hayford, Jack Hayford Ministries