Preached by Rachel Hickson - Compiled and Written by Christina Files
The River recently hosted a regional gathering in Roseville, California and it was our honor to have Rachel Hickson of Heart Cry Ministries bring a powerful word to us about the seasons of God. We wanted to share this word with you.
Wickedness never brings stability, but the godly have deep roots. Thieves are jealous of each other’s loot, but the godly are well rooted and bear their own fruit. - Proverbs 12:3,12 There are 4 stages of growth in the lifespan of any living thing.
Winter is the season where seeds are planted and root systems are established. Every kingdom dynamic has to be rooted before it's fruited and the rooting time is vital. If the root system is poor, the harvest will be poor. Root systems need their sustenance from winter rain so they can grow deep. So it is with the word of God in our lives. God has given each of us seed to put in the ground. We receive a word, a seed, from God and it is planted deep within us; it is established in the unseen realm before it manifests in the visible realm. It seems like a contradiction to hold a seed of hope in your hand and then plant it away in the dark, but the seed's root system needs to be established before we begin to see any growth above ground. We often don't like to invest in roots, but in times of transition and change we need to do the root season well because that's where we discover where we are anchored, where we are secure, what we hold onto when the storms come. We need to be able to go back and say, these are my seeds, these are my roots, and this is my foundation.
But blessed are those who trust in the lord and have made the lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.- Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT
Most of us want to accelerate the winter seasons of our lives because we can't see the fruitfulness yet, but do your rooting now so you can do your fruiting later. We are like trees planted along a riverbank, and we must allow our roots to reach deep into the water. In Scripture, rooting happens near water and water symbolizes both word and Spirit. We need to soak the seeds of promise in the water of the word and in water of the Spirit of God.
How is this done? You soak the seed in water by praying into the word you are carrying so it becomes a real life-giving part of who you are. You cry out for revelation in this place. You contend to be resourced and sourced in this area of your life. If you're going through financial hardship, you declare verses about provision and you learn practically how Jesus breaks through to supply your needs. When your seed is soaked in the water of the Word and Spirit, you begin to react to situations as He would react.
If we don't connect to the water of His presence in winter seasons, we will not be prepared for spring. We plant our seeds in hope that they will grow into something.
Blessed is the one...
whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
Wintertime may feel like a tough season, but tough seasons are designed to anchor you deep for harvest time. A sweet and sour season can become sweet and deep. Pray, "I've got seed, I've got word in me. Let it go deep down in me before it goes up. Let it touch the unseen places before it's seen."
My beloved spoke and said to me,
“Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, come with me.
See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.
The fig tree forms its early fruit;
the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
my beautiful one, come with me. - Song of Solomon 2:10-13 NIV
When the beloved asks his lover to arise and come away, he is telling his love to disconnect from the season of winter. As you transition out of the season of winter, God wants to process hope into faith, so you believe with new revelation that springtime is here. Spring is a season of expectation. A green blade shoots up and we rejoice that the seed didn't die underground. Hope is activated in spring and faith is the substance of things hoped for. The Bible makes a juxtaposition and fine line between hope, expectation, anticipation and belief. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. Hope is the irritant, the catalyst that causes you to move from waiting to receive a promise to wanting to see it fulfilled. Spring starts with waiting for tender shoots to come forth and then moving to watch over the seeds to see them come forth.
Spring is the transition from knowing you're pregnant to believing you are carrying a word within you. When a woman first becomes pregnant, she wonders, "Am I pregnant?" She may feel sick or not quite herself, but she may not be sure she is carrying new life within her. She's hopeful she's pregnant, but that hope grows into a confident expectation as she sees evidence of being pregnant. That confident expectation moves into absolute belief as the pregnancy continues on and the mother looks forward to a specific due date when the promise will be delivered. Spring is the season where hope turns into belief.
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. -Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV
Summer is a season where flowers and fruit begins to form. It is a season of accelerated growth. Summer is a wonderful season of fruitfulness, but many do the hard work of winter and spring and miss the harvest because they don't do summer well.
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. -Deuteronomy 4:9 NIV
Winter can feel like a season of survival. You are focused on getting connected to resources to make it through. Spring is a season of joyful expectation and anticipation. Summer can feel leisurely and lazy. Don't forget what God has done for you and what He is continuing to do for you. Don't allow little foxes to ruin the vineyards you have so carefully planted.
Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. - Song of Solomon 2:15 NIV
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. - Galatians 6:7-10 NIV
We need to be intentional about reaping where we have sown, especially financially. Look at where you have invested your dollars, because there is a harvest to reap there. Our money is closely connected to our heart, and we sacrifice in order to invest. When people give to an offering for a missionary trip, share the testimonies of the trip. People need to see the value of their dollar in kingdom economy. So often people invest in God's kingdom and don't look for specific fruit. What have you sown into and what have you harvested?
Rachel Hickson is the Director and Founder of Heartcry for Change. For more about Rachel and her ministry, click here.