Winter of the Soul

Ausbund, 874

Winter has come. The warmth of summer has faded away and my joy has turned to grief. Oh Lord, give me patience so I may not sin against you in my great sadness!

My inner being is cast down. Were it not for the gift of your patience I would already have given up completely. But I hope you will give me what my heart desires.

My problem is sin. Sin surrounds me. I come to you for grace out of serious need. Will you please instruct me? Will you lead me out of sin and help me repent from it?

Like the prodigal son I would like to turn back, learn what is good, and keep your covenant again. I know that to do so I will need to take up the cross and follow you, but I have indulged in sin so long. No one knows how to counsel me anymore.

In the middle of this I get your invitation to come to you to be healed. You say you have good herbs, always green. You say you have oil of grace for the soul. Dare I come now, once more, and tell you what is on my heart?

I will have to start at the beginning. I was raised in sin. At a young age my flesh deceived me and I began to do what was wrong. I learned, too late, that the world had deceived me. Now I am sick of sin. For years I have led a wretched life. My strength is gone, my life is a mess. No sun shines on my anymore. Not even dew falls on me and I sleep on a bed of straw.

Yet you keep calling me! You say if I believe, you will bind up my wounds and heal me with your grace.

Like snow melts in the sun, my pleasure in life is gone. I am inwardly distressed. My soul is starving for your goodness and grace.

But you will feed me with your Word. You are my comfort. My Saviour. And I wish—oh how I wish, and I wish it a thousand times—that I could be with you! Oh how I long to get out of this place! How I long for my new home with you in the New Jerusalem!

anonymous Anabaptist writer, 16’th Century, Europe

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