Gray moments are necessary


By Betty Slade | PREVIEW columnist

Still in shock after a deep-freeze winter, we are not ready to wake up, smell the coffee and slosh through mud. Too cold to set out plants and possibly more snow is expected. The next season isn’t quite ready to sprout up, stretch its branches, and change its clothing into spring green. The tulips hide their heads and shiver, not ready to show their color.

My Sweet Al said to me, “Have you seen the river today? It’s four feet deeper than it has been. It’s raging. Let’s walk down and look.”

Al just wanted to look, point to the river, and talk about the water level and how fast it was moving. In his mind, he was worried about the water jumping the bank.

I saw work and repairs that needed to be done. “Look what winter has left behind. Broken tree limbs, debris, buildings in need of fresh paint and redwood stain. This time of the year is so gray and dead. But, there’s a spiritual lesson here.”

He was getting lower than a frog. I’m sure he was thinking, “I just wanted to look at the river.”

I saw an opportunity to expand on the moment. I continued, “Everything in the natural realm will spiral down in disrepair. The spiritual realm is about restoration and new life. The debris represents the old life; the flowing river is the new life.

“There’s a gray moment between winter and spring. Still dormant. Still inactive but capable of becoming active. Betwixt and between what has happened and what is happening.”

At the Blanco River, I brought a Bible lesson to Al. I reminded him about the water that flowed from under the temple. It started as a trickle, then the water came to the ankles, knees and the waist. The river became too deep and couldn’t be crossed. God showed Ezekiel trees on one side of the river and the other. And wherever the river went, every living thing was healed (Ezekiel 47:5-12).

“So, what are you saying?”

“Each season has a certain purpose. It’s a point of time to show us what is happening in the natural realm and in the spiritual realm. You’re looking at the Blanco River. I’m looking at the Spirit flowing inside of us.” 

“Too deep for me.”

“I know, but stay with me.”

In a vision, God pointed Ezekiel to look at the temple and the flowing water. He asked him, “Son of Man, what is that?” God wanted Ezekiel to see his glory. The growing waters were a vision of hope to encourage the people. 

He used the river to bring a message to the Israelites in bondage. A gray moment of exile set aside to do a work in his people. God warned Ezekiel he would be speaking to a rebellious people who would not listen to him.

Ezekiel’s message was to bring hope and good news. The Israelites wanted to sit down in their own misery. They wanted to hang their harps on the willows by the river. They had nothing to sing about. The people didn’t want to hear hope.

In today’s news, and between seasons, we are in a gray moment, like the Israelites, who willingly went into bondage, sat down and complained. God doesn’t see wasted time, but a designated time to accomplish his plan for his people. He is doing the same for us and in us.

Final Brushstroke: God knows us better than we know ourselves. He’s working in us to bring us back from where we have wandered. Let God move the river according to his plans. He brings seasons in our lives to accomplish a deeper purpose. He brings the grays in us to prepare us for the next season of life. 

Readers’ comments 

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“Dear Betty,

“Thank you for your article titled, ‘One flew over the crazy nest’. We read this and felt hopeful for the future. God has this world in His hands. We must trust in Him. The news is hard to take. We must PRAY PRAY PRAY. We are grateful for you that you can bring FAITH to the printed word. You are a warrior for God! God bless you & sweet Al along with your family. M. & Mr. G Pagosa Springs.”

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