Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside, are full of dead men’s bones and impurity. In the same way, on the outside, you appear to be righteous, but on the inside, you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. We judge the Pharisees, but we are SO much like them. One commentary describes them this way, “In public meetings, the scribes tried to get the most important seats, and they loved the feeling of status when their students greeted them respectfully. They appeared religious with their long prayers, yet they heartlessly took advantage of the poor. They judged others’ sins when they avoided the commandments of God, such as loving one another. Sometimes we need to stop and, like the winter, lay bare our souls before the Lord, so he can expose what is not fruitful and pure.
The winter seasons can allow us to see what is on the inside. Often we may not like what we see.It has felt a little like winter since my sweet daddy passed. He was such an enormous part of our daily lives. I felt the coldness of winter settle in my heart, feeling God had left the building at times. It was a real challenge and still can be, facing a circumstance that is forever permanent on this earth that I despise. If I’m honest, the enemy was relentless in my ear. (God doesn’t care. He let him die alone. What God separates you from your family while they are sick? Your prayers don’t matter. They weren’t answered. He let him suffer for almost a month is that love, and on and on the enemy tortured me with questions.) But here is a verse I believe more than ever. Psalm 119:11 “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” I had stored up His word in my heart, and when winter came, and my Bible wasn’t open, my mind flowed with scripture every time the enemy came against me. Hymns would flow out of my mouth without me desiring to sing.You see God’s word, no matter how much pain was present, and a sword against the enemy.In this season, he dissected my heart, asking me to look at the faith in ways I had never had to before. I had to ask myself hard questions, eventually growing me tenfold. I had been in ministry and been to seminary, but neither could have produced exponential growth like this event. The key is to fill your store houses before winter comes.
Winter doesn’t have to be all bad. Libby and I, on our adventure, found a wet weather spring hidden under tons of fallen leaves. When we cleaned it out, you could hear the sound of the little trickling waterfall, which allowed it to run its course to a larger waterfall. We would have never found this little treasure if the forest was not barren from the cold winter. We also found another large boulder we cleared off so we could enjoy the view of the creek from a higher vantage point to soak up God’s splendid creation. You see, winter can bring treasure you never knew before. Winter’s, when assigned to our life, is the time to peer hard at what needs your attention. So, the next time you see a tree with no leaves, be reminded it’s simply a season of inspection so that the spring foliage will be stronger and more picturesque than before.