We’re in the middle of winter, the coldest, darkest season of the year. It’s the time of year when the winds howl, the snow blows, the plants are dormant, and we all stay inside as much as possible to avoid the harsh weather.
What makes winter more tolerable for me is remembering that it is only a season. It is a few short months until the days grow longer and the temperatures rise. Eventually the crocuses bloom. Yes, winter is uncomfortably cold, but the frosty air is only for a few weeks; and the chill makes us that much more appreciative of a 50-degree day! No longer do we take sunny, warm days for granted; but as winter turns to spring, we go outside to enjoy those first spring days.
This metaphor has a lot to offer us when we consider the struggles and trials of our own lives. Some of you are living in a season of winter where life feels dark and cold. Perhaps you are struggling with the rising costs all around you or have a relationship that has grown cool. Maybe you are coping with failing health or are dealing with the loss of a loved one.
Whatever your situation, always remember that winter is only a season. Life is filled with ups and downs. Every time you feel like you have reached rock bottom and life feels hopeless, remind yourself there is nowhere to go but up! Even better, take your eyes off your struggles and turn them to the God of the Bible who walks with you through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4). He’s the same God who promises to never leave you, nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:8).
I find great encouragement from the lament found in the little-known book of the Bible, Habakkuk. In it, the prophet is facing a winter of his own, and yet, his faith allows him to hold fast to God, looking forward to the future:
Though the fig tree does not bud,(Habakkuk 3:17-19)
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.
In the strength of God, you are capable of surviving the winter and reaching the bloom of spring. You must hold onto hope that the challenge you are facing is only a season; and like all seasons, in God’s grace, it too will pass.