We are getting a snowstorm in my part of the country today.
Schools are closed. The winds are whipping across our yard, causing the snow to swirl upward into spirals, a delightful wintry dance. The skies are gray and the colors of spring and summer are hidden underneath a blanket of white.
As much as I can appreciate the stark beauty of winter, I dearly love spring and summer and eagerly await their radiant return each year.
There are some seasons in life that cause us to feel that winter is here to stay forever. We can begin to despair of ever again feeling the warmth of the sun.
God seems hidden.
We may feel inside what winter trees look like: the 0nce full, thriving, flowering, green trees now appear to be bare, brittle, cold, and lifeless.
C.S. Lewis perfectly captured this feeling in the The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe when he described Narnia under the cruel reign of the white witch: “It’s always winter but never Christmas.”
I felt like that last spring. I was one year into a very tough season with no end in sight. To be honest, I felt totally exhausted, discouraged, and drained. I was scared. I had very few answers and at least a million questions. With everything in me, I wanted this season to be over! I longed for happier, more carefree days. I felt like my life was on “pause” and if I could only release that pause button, my life could truly begin again in earnest.
That, however, is a faulty assumption. That is living by sight and not by faith. There is life to be found, even in the pause.
That April, Jesus, the very Creator and Sustainer of life, the very One who came to give us life in all its fullness ( Colossians 1: 16; John 10:10), broke into my gray days in a most wonderful way. He arranged for me to hear the same beautiful Scripture five times in just three days, all from different sources: “Arise, My beautiful one and 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!” —Song of Songs, 2:10-11.
On the morning of April 17th, I opened my love letter (the Bible) to see what Jesus had to say to me that morning. I almost fell off the chair when I saw that Song of Songs 2:10-11 was part of my directed reading for that day!!! (I was using a ‘read through the Bible in a year’ plan).
In her book The God of All Comfort: Finding Your Way Into His Arms author Dee Brestin writes, “When we see something new (while reading the Bible)—something that has always been there, but which now, the Spirit reveals to us—we are being touched by Almighty God, we are being ‘kissed by the King’, we are being quickened by the One who raised Jesus from the dead!” (Earlier in the book, Dee noted that “a kiss from the King according to rabbinic tradition, is a living word from God.”).
I had just been kissed by the King. That was now the sixth time He was showing me that Scripture in a very short amount of time. Joy suffused my soul as if the sun had suddenly broken through the clouds.
I looked up from my Bible to take in the view from my picture window…and saw a coating of snow! The calendar said it was spring…but it sure looked like winter outside.
The spiritual lesson was not lost on me. When I looked outside, I saw snow, gray skies, and bare branches. It was undoubtedly a winter scene.
YET…the calendar definitively declared that spring had arrived! Which would I choose to believe: what my eyes could see or what the calendar said?
Jesus was giving me a promise: a new season is on its way! Would I choose to cling to His promise and trust Him for what I cannot see (which is the essence of faith?). Or…would I focus only on my difficult circumstances and let that eclipse His promise?
I chose to believe His Word.
Jesus is ALWAYS true to His Word.
Just thirteen days later, He performed a miracle in our situation, one that left us stunned with wonder and feeling dearly loved and cherished.
As God’s own, we ARE always dearly loved and cherished…even during the long gray days of winter.
If today finds you in a winter season, stay in the Word. It is your lifeline. Claim His promises of tender love and care for you. He is always at work, even when we can’t see it. He will always prove faithful.
Granted, His timetable differs from ours most of the time…but He knows what He is doing. As my friend Claire reminded us at Bible study last night, “He paints on a canvas bigger than we can see.”
Winter may be here…but spring is just around the corner!
Expect hope to be rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons of life do not last. —Sarah Ban Breathrach