Winter Seasons

Winter. This season got its name from a Germanic word meaning “time of water”, referring to the rain and snow that this season brings.  Science tells us that its colder temperatures occur because our hemisphere is tilted away from the sun. And don’t we often feel, in the winter seasons of life, that we have been turned away from the Son?  That cannot be what a loving Father would have in mind for us.  Look at the seasons that come before and after winter. In the autumn we watch the leaves turn colors as the weather turns cooler and we harvest all that we can before winter arrives. In the spring we watch as life blooms again-animals give birth and new growth bursts forth everywhere. It would seem, then, that every season has a purpose. But what of winter- that time when everything seems dead, dark, and cold. What are we to learn from winter? Let’s see what the Word can tell us about the winter seasons of our lives.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from Heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so will my word be which goes out of my mouth; it will not return void without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11

Rain and snow water the earth and are required for things to grow. So too, we are reminded that even though challenges and trials will rain and snow in our lives, God’s plans and promises are secure and our winter seasons will also produce new life and new seed.

“For behold winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth once again; and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.” Song of Songs 2:11-12

Here is another promise from God, telling us that winter will not last forever. It will always pass and spring will always return.  The turtledove’s songs are sweet and yet mournful, beautiful melodies yet touched with sorrow. We will experience loss and we will mourn but we are promised new melodies for the next season of life. And Genesis 8:22 assures us that summer and winter will not cease while the earth remains. We can stand firm in knowing that no matter how cold, long and dark winter may be, a promised spring will come forth.

So, in the winter seasons of our lives, nature reminds us to have hope. Hope that spring and summer will come. Life will be bright and pleasant once again. We simply have to grab hold of hope and hang on until the season changes. But how do we claim God’s promised Springtime? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Get in the sun/Son. We need vitamin D to remain healthy. Scientific research tells us to get outside for 20 minutes in the sun every day to help our body and our mind. How much more healing will we find in the presence of the Son? If your winter season is particularly difficult, try to spend more time in the Word, more time fellowshipping with other believers and worshipping. There is no quick fix for defending against the harsh cold of a winter season, it takes being intentional about staying the light of the Son, Jesus Christ.
  2. Bundle up. We layer our clothes in the winter (yes, even here in Florida). Make sure you also put on the armor of God. Wooly hat- helmet of salvation. Winter jacket-breastplate of righteousness. Snow shovel-sword of truth. Don’t go out without your armor. When walking into the wintry storms, dress for the battle, just like you cover up on a below-freezing, snowy day.
  3. Spend time with believers. Again, the Word gives us a strategy for the dark, lonely days of winter. “Not forsaking our meeting together [as believers for worship and instruction], as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more [faithfully] as you see the day [of Christ’s return] approaching.” Hebrews 10:25 AMP. Don’t isolate yourself and don’t try to hibernate! To neglect time of worship and the encouragement and support of others is to do a real disservice to yourself. Hibernation is for animals; we were not designed crawl into a cave and shut down. We need each other in our winters more than any other time.

Let me close by sharing this from Charles Spurgeon, who says so beautifully what I want for you to remember about winter…

“Can you answer this, believer? … Who told you that the night would never end in day? Who told you that the winter of your discontent would proceed from frost to frost, from snow and ice, and hail, to deeper snow, and yet more heavy tempest of despair? Don’t you know that day follows night, that flood comes after ebb, that spring and summer succeed winter? Hope then! Hope forever! for God fails you not.”  After the Frost—C. H. Spurgeon