For as much as winter is a barren time, it is the most essential season in the life of a vineyard.
What occurs in this dormant season affects everything from the form of the vine, the time of bud break, the size of cluster and fruit quality in the fertile season, stabilized production over time, and the continued maturity of the vine year after year.
In the life of the beloved, the winter season of the soul is meant to be a time of cultivation. The activity of dormancy, as we will see, is very much a gift. If approached in the spirit of learning and adventure, it is nothing short of investment in next year’s crop.
Psalm 74:17 says of the Lord God, “You have made summer and winter.” The autumn season that bridges the two is the time of the gathering of the crop. Once the ripe fruit is harvested, the season of dormancy arrives and at the proper time, the time of pruning – known also as the time of singing in Solomon’s Song. (SS 2:12)
It doesn’t sound very dormant, does it?
When we understand that dormancy is a temporary abeyance of external activity, it hints at a level of activity taking place internally. Dormancy is a state of being inactive, with the ability to become active.
Further, the Hebrew for winter in Psalm 74 is ‘to betroth’ – its origin meaning be – truth.
Now we begin to understand why the winter of her betrothal was also the season of the Beloved’s reluctance. No longer just a nice thought of a future marriage, this promise to marry and be given in marriage to the Bridegroom was asking more of her than she was ready or willing to give!
She had worked in the vineyards and kept others’ vines, remember? She knew the drill. She was aware of the pruning process. She knew the stripping and exposing it would entail. Ignorance was not her bliss.
Once again, she well understood what her Bridegroom King was after; betrothal meant that He desired truth in her inward parts (Psalm 51:6), even that she be – truth. She knew it was necessary for healthy fruit bearing, but fear was her forte. Panic momentarily overwhelmed any thought of surrender.
Yet, the Bridegroom spoke on, for He was not in the business of giving up easily or quickly. He had a vineyard to be tended, and His great desire was that His Bride see to hers so that she might join Him in the outworking of all that yet lay ahead of them.
F.B Meyer voiced the Lord’s dedicated intention this way – Even the unripe fruits of holiness are pleasant unto Him whose grace has produced them.*
The Bridegroom knew her fruits of holiness were not yet ripened, which was the whole point of His beckoning her to come along with Him. There was pruning to be done and a new song to be placed in her mouth. There were praises to be sung and songs of victory to be learned as both the reducing and truthing took place.
But…she hadn’t quite made her decision. And He wasn’t quite finished with His latest exhortation.
If He knew anything, it was that timing was everything. The stairs to His chamber weren’t going anywhere. He brushed the leaves from the steps and thought about what He yet had to say to her, this one He so loved… before their time of separation and the winter of her betrothal set in.
~ Gracefully Free
*Through the Bible Day by Day by F.B. Meyer
Shammahs Field LLC/Shammah Ministries is the biblical counseling, life coaching, and spiritual growth ministry entrusted to Wayne & Nancy Bentz. You can learn more about the resources they have to offer at shammahsfield.com and nancybentz.com.