The chilling winds have brought no snow this year. Our mountain home thrives on upwards of fifty inches of snow a year, but days of sun and warmth have grown monotonous as we search the weather reports for any hope of precipitation. With the drought in our desert mountains growing worse, we pray for protection from wildfires like those that have ravaged the western states in recent years.
Our trees are covered with buds as warm temperatures create a false spring. But with Christmas decorations packed away, my heart is ready for true spring with its fragrant rain and wildflowers bursting forth in colorful blooms.
Madame Guyon, a French woman imprisoned for her writings on prayer, wrote a sermon entitled “The Winter of the Soul.” She writes, “I see the season of winter as an excellent example of the transforming work of the Lord in a Christian’s life . . . The defects had been invisible because of the beautiful leaves. Now those defects are startlingly revealed . . . you are not actually becoming worse, you are simply seeing yourself for what you really are! Know that somewhere deep within the tree of winter there is still the life that produced last spring’s beautiful leaves.”
She explains that trees need winter, when life focuses inward, to gather strength. Isn’t that a beautiful thought? Winter doldrums can reveal defects in my spiritual life and faith but rather than losing hope, I must look to my heavenly Father and seek renewal. God remains faithful and so must I. Whatever natural defects become conspicuous can be healed by the word of God and prayer.
Her closing passage speaks hope to weary, wounded souls: “If you dare the spiritual pilgrimage, you need to remember in times of calamity, and in what appear to be dry spells, and in that time which men will call a spiritual winter: life is there.”
Dreary weather and cheerless headlines create frustration. Yet, God’s Word reminds me that my heart’s attitude should ever only be hope. Life sings within the pages of my Bible, the words of my prayers, the deepest cries of my heart, for God is light, life, truth, and hope. Anything that leads me to think otherwise is a lie.
The chill of winter is a suitable time to draw near to the dancing fire and concentrate on God’s Word, to draw hope from the wisdom and promises of our Lord. The promise of winter is spring. Life is here!
As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth. Hosea 6:3