Dormant…Or Dead


Steve Nauman

Many people say fall is their favorite season of the year! I guess I’m not part of that group. I’m all about SPRING! Part of the reason I don’t like fall is, I don’t enjoy the darkness and short days that continue right on through winter. I admit that I certainly do enjoy the colors of fall….. but the beauty always seems to fade away so quickly. But, after those beautiful leaves fall to the ground and we gather them, they serve another purpose….. they add beneficial nutrients to our compost pile! 

Then when all the beautiful leaves have fallen from the trees and bushes they all look so barren, and well…..they look dead!  But I have learned (obviously) they are not dead, they are entering a necessary dormant season that allows them to save energy and survive the harsh winter months. In fact, if you look closely it’s amazing how God designed it, because the branches and parts above the ground that we see are virtually “hibernating” with only minimal life in them.

Yet below the ground, the root structure of many species can become very busy at this time preparing for the growth spurt of spring. Yet while that’s going on, none of us can see anything happening in the dormant tree! Those trees that are going into their dormant season are very much alive, and would not produce what God designed them to….. without the dormant season.  I now understand that if it were not for the dormant season, the beautiful springtime might not be so beautiful!

God made us all different and whether it’s physically, emotionally or spiritually, we all grow at different rates. We also to some degree can experience seasons of growth and dormant seasons in areas of our lives as well. I know I have….. 

For me the “dormant season” could usually be represented by various trials, because it was usually during those times when I felt as though I was unable to display any or at least much growth outwardly. But inwardly….. well, when I had healed and moved beyond the various trials, I started discovering the depth of the “spiritual roots” that had grown….. during the time I thought I was “dormant”.  And in my personal life, the dormant seasons, even though they were sometimes extremely long, resulted in changes that surprised even me when “my springtime” finally came!

One of the things I did to heal from the grief of losing my first wife was to journal my thoughts and feelings everyday-and that exercise lasted for a year. That was the first time I’d ever written anything-and that was only an exercise writing to myself. BUT….. I also had started reading the Book of Psalms …..But, now I was reading it through the eyes of grief.  Prior to that, I had thought of Psalms mainly as a ‘book of or about songs’. Needless to say….. I had my eyes opened….. and a lot of activity started in my “unseen spiritual feeder roots” and it was even unknown to me as it was happening.  

While I was in severe grief, journaling and reading the Book of Psalms, I soon felt like much of what David had written, possibly was what he had journaled in his times of grief?  I started seeing the style and pain in many of the verses-and they brought me comfort. I recognized that here were the journaled words of David, included in God’s Word to bring comfort to many millions of broken-hearted people through the centuries. David’s terrible times of pain and sorrow that he wrote about-much of it written from a heart that almost for sure felt he  was in a dormant season, were jumping off the pages, helping to usher in “springtime” as it ministered to my heart and soul!

Just one example is Psalm 34:19 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (NASB) 

One final word about the trees….. It eventually does become easy to tell if a tree is dormant and alive…….. or dead.

But , when we talk about our lives as christians and a personal relationship with Christ, no one but you knows for sure if you are a dormant Christian, a growing Christian, or a …. ………?

Only you and The Lord Know for sure.

Till Next Time…..

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Steve Nauman

These wonderful posts are written by my good friend Steve Nauman. He lives on a farm in northern Indiana with his wife, Ruth.

He owned and operated a machine shop until 2020. These stories come from the people and experiences that made lasting impressions upon him as he grew up in his father's general store in Upstate NY and later in his own business.