My friends, be patient until the Lord returns. Think of farmers who wait patiently for the spring and summer rains to make their valuable crops grow. Be patient like those farmers and don’t give up. The Lord will soon be here! James 5:7-8 (CEV)
It snowed on Easter. Big, fat, wet flakes fell from the sky onto budding lilies, blooming daffodils, and just-greening grass. The birds squawked angrily in protest, flying from tree to tree and deck to deck in a vain attempt to find some warmth. A lone crane flew silently to the roof of a dock and stood glaring at the unwelcome precipitation for hours. As winter choked spring in it’s iron fist once more and we re-buried ourselves under downy blankets, my husband asked the question, “How do you break up with winter?”
I considered for a moment and began drafting a mental response. It went something like this:
We’ve had a lot of fun these past several months. I’ve greatly enjoyed the moments we’ve spent together, walking across the frozen lake, playing in the snow, and curling up with blankets and hot cocoa on long, dark nights. But, I’m just not in the same place I was when we first met. I need more than you can give right now. I want to see other seasons. It’s not you, it’s me. Hoping we can still be friends???
Needless to say, Winter did not oblige. As much as I am ready to move into the jubilation of Spring, to bask in the glow of the sun while cool breezes brush my cheeks, to dig my fingers deep into the moist, soft earth and plant small seedlings of hope and promise, Winter is not ready to move on. Apparently, there is work still to be done. And so, we wait…and wait…and wait…
Winter is not just something we experience in the climatological realm; we are seasonal in our souls, too. There are moments in our lives that are spring-like, full of joy, hope, and promise. But then, there are seasons of winter–weeks, months, or years when our hearts are wrapped in an iron fist of sorrow, anxiety, or fear. It could be an unexpected job loss that leads to financial turmoil. It could be a long-term illness that exhausts our spiritual and financial resources. It could be the demise of a relationship, or the death of a loved one that plunges us into a state of grief and change.
When winter comes to our souls, we want to break up with it as soon as possible. But, like the weather, we have no ability to make it move. James 5 reminds us that, when we are faced with the relentlessness of winter in our lives, we must “wait patiently for the spring and summer rains.” Because just as Spring will arrive in all its glory one fine and unsuspecting day, so God will arrive in all of his glory when we least expect him to come.
“Don’t give up,” James reminds the early Christians who were persecuted and despised. “The Lord will come!” This, then, is the great promise of our faith–the Lord will come. Time and again, from the Old Testament to New, prophets and apostles have proclaimed this message: The Lord Will Come! This promise isn’t just about the final restoration of God’s kingdom on Earth, it is a promise for the here and now. It is a reminder that, no matter how tightly Winter holds our hearts in its cold, gray grip, God is with us. God is working in our lives to bring about his glory. Although we may not see his work, we trust that it is being done. And, when it is ready, God will reveal it to us.
I wish I could give you a sure-fire easy way to break up with Winter when it just won’t let go. I wish I could tell you that Spring is just around the corner, and everything will be fine. But, that’s not the way our broken world works. Winter hangs on. Storms wreak havoc. We suffer. We mourn. We are afraid. However…there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Winter cannot last forever. Spring is waiting on the wing. And though we might shed tears for a time, we will laugh again. In the meantime, we must be patient and wait through the Winter for God to come. Because we know that he always keeps his promises.
God will carry us through the pain and sorrow of an unimaginable loss. God will strengthen and walk with us through the course of a long-term illness. God will provide and open doors for us when employment and finances become unstable. God will give us wisdom and guidance when faced with a difficult decision. We might not see him right away. There might be some “dark nights of the soul” to face. But, even in those long, dark, nights, he is there working. And, he will come.
I don’t know what season of life you’re facing right now, but if you’re in the midst of Winter–take heart! Remember that the Lord will come.
- Genesis 18:10: “I will come back!”
- Isaiah 29:6: I, the Lord All-Powerful, will come to your rescue with a thundering earthquake and a fiery whirlwind.
- Isaiah 41:17: When the poor and needy are dying of thirst and cannot find water, I, the Lord God of Israel, will come to their rescue. I won’t forget them.
- Isaiah 56:1 Soon I will come to save you; my saving power will be seen everywhere on earth.
- Malachi 3:17: Then the Lord All-Powerful said: You people are precious to me, and when I come to bring justice, I will protect you, just as parents protect an obedient child.
- Acts 3:20 Then that time will come when the Lord will give you fresh strength. He will send you Jesus, his chosen Messiah.
- Romans 10: 13 All who call out to the Lord will be saved.
- Romans 12:12: Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:16: God our Father loves us. He is kind and has given us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope. We pray that our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father.
- Titus 2:13: We are filled with hope, as we wait for the glorious return of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
- Hebrews 10:23: We must hold tightly to the hope that we say is ours. After all, we can trust the one who made the agreement with us.
- 1 Peter 1:3: Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is so good, and by raising Jesus from death, he has given us new life and a hope that lives on.
Blessings and Peace,