The first snow fall in Minnesota creates a buzz of excitement. Christmas music turns on, fires are kindled, and laughter echoes from the kids sledding in the neighborhood.
But now it’s February. Heads start to hang. We speak the words of David when we ask, “How long, O Lord?” (Psalm 13:1)
How long must the sun be hidden and the ice cold wind cut through me like a knife? It was fun in December, but now I’m ready to move on.
I pondered these thoughts as I turned off my car at work and the thermometer read -30 degrees Fahrenheit. I could get frostbite in five minutes, and my eye liquid could even freeze. What’s that about?!
At the gym I joined a class full of people shaking like a twig in plank position, while the instructor broke the breathless silence by saying, “This weather is crazy. I can’t wait for February to be done so I can get this stupid month over with.”
My heart sank with conviction, because those were my thoughts. But God sovereignly planned winter, even the harshest ones. There’s a purpose to his actions. We were meant to find him here, in the midst of blizzards and well below freezing temperatures.But God sovereignly planned winter, even the harshest ones. There’s a purpose to his actions. Click To Tweet
As I brushed fresh snow off of my car with wet hair turned frozen, I thought about how we think we’re just getting the worst part behind us. We’re waiting out the storm. But what if we’re actually missing something? What if we’re supposed to be engaged in winter, not hibernating until spring?
I don’t know God’s exact intentions, but I know that winter can help me grow in my faith and point me to Jesus. Here are five ways how:
1. After death comes life
Every year spring comes, I frolic around like a fairy singing “It smells like Spring! Everything is coming alive again, and my heart is coming alive!”
Spring would not stir in me the glorious feeling it does every year if it were not for the long, strenuous winter. Flowers start to bloom and trees grow back luscious green leaves. From death comes life.
This can remind us that, from Jesus’ death came our opportunity for eternal life forever with Him. Creation is the metaphorical stage that brilliantly displays the glorious story that is our reality—life coming from death.
2. This is not our home
Car crashes. Frostbite. Cabin fever. Taking ten minutes to throw on a million layers just to get the mail. It feels like it will never end.
But we know it will. We’ve seen it happen. Spring is on the way and we have hope. We know that winter will come to an end because God does it every year.
“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22)
Long winters breaking into spring can remind us that life on earth will soon come to an end and we will be in paradise forever. Nothing is sweeter than the weather of heaven and the presence of Jesus.
3. The Glory of God
Psalm 19:1-2 says that “the heavens declare the glory of God” and that “day to day pours out speech”. The sky above our heads tells us something about God every day. It sings a song of praise to our Creator—have I spent every day deaf to its melody?
His power is revealed through mighty snowstorms in the winter. His gentleness is displayed through snowflakes floating every so lightly to the ground. His grace and faithfulness is set before our eyes when the clouds clear up and the sun shines once again.
Let’s not miss His glory show. Tickets are free. Just look up.
4. Our Dependence on God
I am rarely more aware of my dependence on God than when I’m driving an hour to school on Minnesota’s freshly-iced roads. Cars are in ditches on both sides of me, and I am in constant prayer the whole ride.
I don’t fully recognize my complete reliance on God when everything is hunky dory. Whether a literal storm or a figurative storm in my life, those are the moments when my eyes turn to God and plea for help from the only Source who can provide it. Those are the days when I genuinely pray, “Apart from You, I can do nothing.”I don’t fully recognize my complete reliance on God when everything is hunky dory. Click To Tweet
Winter refines my character by pulling me into the reality that my control is an illusion. When I get into my car, he determines my destination.
5. The call to rejoice
As Christians, our foundation of joy in Christ is not shaken by the weather forecast. Whether we see where he’s going with this or not, we sing “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118:24)
We pray, “I don’t love the snow, Lord, but I love you, so I will rejoice and my heart will be glad.”
When we refuse to conform to the complaining pattern of this world and rejoice always, people notice. When people see time and time again that our circumstances don’t sway the joyful posture of our hearts, and that our hope is anchored in something other than what happens today, it glorifies God. Our response to winter could very well be the gateway that engages someone with the Gospel and leads them to Christ.
May God grant us all with the perspective of John Newton for the rest of this winter and the ones to come:
“None upon earth I desire besides thee
How tedious and tasteless the hours,
When Jesus no longer I see!
Sweet prospects, sweet birds, and sweet flow’rs,
Have lost all their sweetness to me.
The mid-summer sun shines but dim,
The fields strive in vain to look gay;
But when I am happy in Him,
December’s as pleasant as May.”