Prophetic People in Testing Times: The Reason for the Season

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I read in a time management book recently that clutter in one’s home or work environment causes stress. I figure that is because clutter represents a pile of unfinished tasks.
This, I muse, makes a great deal of sense. My own current ‘clutter’ issue is not indoors but just outside. My garden glares at me accusingly every time I walk in and out of our front door. It is a mass of unpruned roses and the last brave flowers—the ones that were giving me the excuse of neglect—have been lost to the winds.

This is somewhat ironic because I have just been in the process of writing a chapter about pruning.

According to the Bible, God is in the business of cultivating our lives, and every now and then He gets out the shears (John 15:1-3).

This unpleasant process is all for good, of course, because the end result of pruning is greater fruitfulness.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2

Prophetic people go through testing times, and whether these relate to the barrenness of a winter season or the process of pruning, there IS some good news to be had. Here are some examples from the Bible:

The Testing Season: What is God Doing?

1. Developing Skills you will need in the Future

(Gen 37-50)

Joseph knew that his destiny was one of rulership, but it seemed that his life was taking the opposite course. Sold into slavery and unjustly imprisoned, he developed skills that would be invaluable to his future. During the season of trial, God may be working gifts and skills into your life that you need to fulfil His destiny in the long run.

2. Refining Character

(James 1:4)
Integrity is of vital importance so that the ministry and God’s Name is not discredited. This is especially true when operating in spiritual gifts such as prophecy.

Other character traits that God looks for in His people are humility and the ability to persevere. After a 40-year sojourn in the wilderness, Moses was a man of great humility. God had refined his character in the desert.

3. Repositioning

During a wilderness time, God may actually be repositioning us for a new season of fruitfulness.

Elijah sat under a tree in the desert and actually prayed that he would die. The Lord visited Him and gave him directions for a new season of his ministry. He was to call Elisha as his successor and anoint a new king who would bring Jezebel’s reign to an end (1 Kings 19).

Elijah had an appointment with God in the wilderness and so do we. During the times of difficulty or separation, allow Him to speak to you about the next season He has for your life.

4. Calling us to Intimacy with God

(Hosea 2:14-15)
Testing times are seasons when we have the opportunity to get closer to God than any other time. Perhaps there are fewer distractions. Perhaps need or barrenness causes us to draw nearer to Him.

5. Awaiting the Right Timing

While we feel as though we are fighting to survive, God is moving to change the scenery on the stage of our lives—positioning circumstances, others and us for what is to come. David went on the run from Saul in the wilderness. He was destined to become a king, but he became an outlaw first. He stayed in the desert while God worked things out on his behalf. Saul died and eventually the people called for David to be their new king.

6. Strengthening our Faith

Abraham is known as the ‘father of faith.’ It was twenty-five barren years before Isaac was born in fulfilment of God’s promise to make him a great nation; God waited until it was physically impossible. Paul later said of Abraham in Romans 4:19-20:

“Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God.”

7. Pruning for Greater Fruitfulness

Pruning seasons occur when the best that we have produced is stripped away from us and every natural means of being fruitful seems to have been removed, leaving us barren (John 15:2). God is allowing fruitful areas of our lives and ministries to be cut back, in order that we can focus in a significant way.

Now, I’d better do something about that garden… tomorrow.

The information in this post is excerpted from the e-book, ‘Grow Your Prophetic and Prayer Gifts.’ If this post has ministered to you and you would like further help in the development of your prophetic gifts, click here to review the book.

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See also Prophetic People in Testing Times

© Helen Calder   Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching

15 thoughts on “Prophetic People in Testing Times: The Reason for the Season”

  1. Great post and one that I can really relate to!

    My own garden is a shambles, tree debris litters the sides of the driveway, plants have overgrown their garden beds, weeds are springing up like crazy. Indoors is a little better but still needs work.

    My life is a little like that, too. I have let the weeds of life clutter my mind and other areas of my life. It’s time to step up and move out of that phase. Time to unclutter and prune my own life in so many ways.

    I’m not waiting for tomorrow. I’m starting today. It’s time to let the seeds that God has planted sprout and come into full bloom and time to prune the stuff which is not bearing fruit.

  2. Very relevant to today.

    Simplexity is a term that identifies the inherent complexity of things but also recognises that we have to simplify in order to manage them.

    Decluttering is a recommended process.

    One theory I have heard but don’t subscribe to is that you should move house every few years because this forces you to evaluate the STUFF you have and prune. I have decided to prune without the moving. Besides, I like where I am living now. But I recognise the power of the idea. Review and prune intentionally.

    To develop the skills you need in the future, you have to have a vision of the future you want. I think we often allow the circumstances to carry us along rather than being intentional and forward thinking. This is a challenge for me right now as I am looking to the future and trying to get the clarity required to choose the best path. As Prophetic People you would think that should be the easy part. But even here God seems to prefer faith to micromanaging it for us.

    Soren Kierkegaard said something like this: “Life is a process that must be lived forwards but can only be understood backwards”!

    So ultimately we have to choose and then review. We can’t predict or calculate everything. I’m not good at inaction. But sometimes stopping to review is the best choice. For me, pruning and weeding includes our thoughts, motives, skills, associations and possessions.

    Testing Times come when we need to grow. Otherwise they would not have meaning.

    And I also have a few messes to declutter.

    Ray Keefe

  3. Helen, when I read your comments I had this sense that you have been ‘looking through the window of my life’ – and I agree with the excellent points you make!
    Having lived on an orchard for many years I observed how the trees were pruned every winter – they looked so dead, but come the Spring the blossoms appeared, followed by the fruit. I am so thankful that I am ‘grafted into the vine’ and my Father is the gardener. He knows whether I need a major ‘cutback’ or just a ‘light prune’ to keep me growing in Him. It can be painful, but the ‘fruit’ that comes later makes it all worthwhile.

  4. Yes Jenny, I sure hope I don’t need any ‘major cutbacks’ again anytime soon! But isn’t it such a familiar process to all of us? Especially when we consecrate our gifts to God.
    I’m glad, too, we’re in such loving Hands!

  5. Hi Helen,
    I have been reading your posts since then. Since I really want to be formally trained regarding prophetic movements.

    There were 3 prophets who prophesied to me and they told me what the Lord has called me to be. I’m also desiring to learn the prophetic way. But I don’t know if I am after the gift or the giver, sometimes I check myself. Maybe im just after the power,, I don’t know. And sometimes i am losing hope to develop what the lord has given me. I don’t what to be on a hurry, I want God’s perfect timing for his plan to be done to me. However I don’t know if I am on a ryt timing or season or already missing the season of God.
    I am seeing visions and dreams, I flow in prophetic but I am not sure if I really do since no one is mentoring me regarding prophetic movement.(good thing that there were many leaders in our church that confirm what I have seen in vision). Can ask you to pray for me and let me know if the Lord has given you words of direction, confirmation or even correction for me.
    I don’t know where I am right now. I don’t know If I am progressing or just being stagnant. Tnx Helen.. God bless to your ministry. Pls send your reply to my email.

    1. Hi Angelo, great to hear from you. Never hold back from learning about and growing in a spiritual gift–trust that is there is a desire in your heart, our heavenly Father has placed it there. The fact that you are concerned that you don’t want to lose focus on Him is a good sign that your heart is in the right place.
      Ps 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD
      and he will give you the desires of your heart.
      Here are some ideas for developing your prophetic gift
      As far as getting back to you by email, I am currently overseas, but will have another look at this when I get back.
      I pray God will richly bless and lead you in your prophetic journey.

  6. I have just read your reply in my email! Tnx for the message Helen. Godbless your ministry online! Looking forward to the ministry where the Lord has called me to be… Godbless you again and your staff too

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