Whether the weather is fine, whether the weather is not
Whether the weather is cold, whether the weather is hot
We’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather
Whether we like it or not.
– Anonymous British Poem
This little ditty is often the reason behind dramatic rolled eyes and painful sighs in my home. When my children start complaining about the temps outdoors, they can be sure that their mother will start reciting this old standby to them…much to their chagrin. It may not be their favorite rhyme, but I hope that as they grow they will learn to see the wisdom in it. I hope that they will be adults who seek joy and contendedness in all seasons…no matter how dreary it may seem at the time.
Truth be told, I myself am not a big fan of Wintertime. Give me sunshine, short sleeves, and the beach any day…someone else can take the snow, the hundred bajillion layers of clothing, and the arctic tundra winds! Okay, okay, I digress. Even though I’ve never particularly enjoyed this time of year, I have learned to have peace with it. Winter is just a part of life for many regions! We can either choose to mope around for three or more months wishing it were a different season, or we can choose to accept this season for what it has to offer and allow it to grow us.
Adults and children alike, we all typically prefer good weather to bad, do we not?
Yet whether we are speaking of the current condition of our atmosphere or the current season of our life, God has ordained both good and bad weather. We must learn to “weather the weather”…for every kind of season can and will be for our ultimate good, if we will let it be.
For the man sound in body and serene of mind there is no such thing as bad weather; every sky has it’s beauty, and storms which whip the blood do but make it pulse more vigorously. – George Gissing, “Winter”, The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft (1903)
Today we are going to learn three truths about Winter that just may help us to look at this season in a brand new way…
1. Winter Is Inevitable
(It’s bound to happen)
For those of us who live away from the equator, Winter always comes at least once a year, does it not? You’d think we’d get accustomed to it as a part of life. Yet year after year I hear people complaining….complaining about Winter’s coming…complaining for three months while Winter is occuring…and when Winter is finally over, complaining that Winter will return all too soon. Unfortunately, I used to be one of these people…that is until I started to loathe the vicious cycle that left me a miserable nag for a quarter of the year!
Did you ever consider that the same God who made the Springtime flowers, Summer sunshine, and Fall harvest also made the Winter snow? We need to respect God’s plan for nature. This whole circle of life happening around us is for HIS glory…not ours.
Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and *winter.
– Psalm 74:17
While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and *winter, and day and night shall not cease. – Genesis 8:22
For he saith to the *snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength. – Job 37:6
Friends, Winter is inevitable..part of God’s design. We can’t change Winter weather or stop it from coming, but here’s the good news: we can prepare for it, and adjust to it. We can add that extra quilt on the bed…we can add extra layers of clothing to our bodies…we can kick up the heat a notch. In all honesty, we should be thankful that we even have the means to do these things! God is so good to provide us with what we need for all seasons.
If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. – Proverbs 24:10
Now let us consider “Winter” in the spiritual sense. God has also ordained trials to occur in the life of His children at certain seasons. All of us will have our “Winters”, and just as with the physical Winter, we need to accept spiritual Winters as a part of life. They will come, and we need to have the strength and acceptance to persevere through them…and even have joy through our trials.
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. – Isaiah 45:7
So that no one would be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been *destined for this. For indeed when we were with you we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know. – 1 Thessalonians 3:3-4 NASB
Perhaps some of us will have children who go astray. Some of us might lose a job…get in an accident…be betrayed by a friend. Some of us may even lose our beloved spouse (whether it be by choice or by death). These are all hard pills to swallow – some are devastating. Yet in the midst of the pain, we can find a light at the end of the tunnel…if we remember that God has a purpose in our suffering. We will touch on this in our next point…
Because the birdsong might be pretty,
But it’s not for you they sing,
And if you think my winter is too cold,
You don’t deserve my spring.
– Erin Hanson
2. Winter is Incidental
(It happens for a reason)
Been walking my mind to an easy time
My back turned towards the sun
Lord knows when the cold wind blows
It’ll turn your head around.
– James Taylor, Fire And Rain
This classic song really resonates with me. Isn’t it true of us, that when we have our “back turned towards the sun” (or rather, the SON – living the easy life and forgetting our Creator), God often sends a “cold wind” (hardship) our way that will “turn our head around” (set us back on track)? Our tendency is to draw closer to God during times of struggle. It shouldn’t be this way…we should keep our focus on Him at all times. Unfortunately this is not always the case, and our Father knows it.
If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. – Anne Bradstreet
Winter is incidental. In nature, it occurs when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted away from the sun. It works much the same way spiritually…by cause and effect. Trials often occur when we have tilted away from Christ. Feebleminded as we humans can be, we sometimes need a good knock upside the head to get us back on the Straight and Narrow. Many times, Winter is that painful blow. It is up to us to respond to it as God intends!
Our Father can teach us a lot about our own spirit by observing the animals He has made and how they respond to Wintertime. Consider this:
- For some animals, Winter is their cue to migrate. Where do they go? They travel closer to the sun, and away from the dark, cold days of Winter. This is the effect that Winter should have on us. It is a wake-up call for when we have started slipping, and true followers of Christ will be moved by it. We will stand up, dust ourselves off, and get serious about our faith again.
- Other animals hibernate, or go into a state of deep sleep. Is this not much like what some people will do? Instead of allowing Winter to push them closer to the sun, they just go into a heavy slumber. Rather than growing through the hard times, they merely feel sorry for themselves and hole up in walls of bitterness.
- Some animals change their fur color to reflect the snowy landscape around them. When we fall on hard times, we might go so far as to reject God and sink even further into Winter. Perhaps we will take on the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” attitude and blend in to the world. We might let others convince us that we can drown away our sorrows by such evils as drunkenness, drug abuse, or fornication.
- Still others might grow a thicker fur to keep warm. This is what we do when stop trusting in the Lord, and instead rely on our own strength to get us through affliction. It is essentially doing the same thing Adam and Eve did – trying to cover their sin with a covering of their own making. Of course this is just another way of avoiding the true problem – our need for maturity.
The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. – Proverbs 4:19
Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness. – Jeremiah 13:16
Now I want it to be understood that every time something bad happens to us, it’s not because we personally have sinned. One only has to read the book of Job to know that much! Sometimes Winter comes upon us for our own good, sometimes it comes upon us for someone else’s! Sometimes it comes as a teaching moment to an on-looking friend, or someone that we can be an encouragement to later on, or even to tell a story to future generations. Whatever the case, Winter is a strong message that life away from God is cold, dark, and dreary. We would be wise to stop and consider!
3. Winter Is Indelible
(It’s happening changes us)
Winter, physically or spiritually speaking, can really take a toll on us. Yet if we will be faithful and endure to the end of the season, we will see Spring come around once more. Seasons change, and in so doing they change us. Through it all, we will either get bitter or get better! Hopefully as we go through the years we will start to have a healthy respect for Winter…and remember what our life can be if we don’t dwell in the light of the sun.
And now men see not the bright light which is in the clouds: but the wind passeth, and cleanseth them. Fair weather cometh out of the North: with God is terrible majesty. – Job 37:21-22
This passage is so powerful. Shame on us when we are too blind to see the light of day. It’s no wonder God sends Winter to this earth when we don’t remember Him when things are easy! We may loathe the harsh winds of Winter, but how can we when we know this is for our cleansing? Would we rather be comfortable and deceived, or uncomfortable and received?
He had heard an inarticulate promise: he had been pierced by Spring, that sharp knife. – Thomas Wolfe
The good times may be more desirable, but would we choose them in order to stay in darkness? Trials may save our very souls.
Winter is indelible. Once we have known true struggle, we aren’t apt to forget it.
If we are teachable, every Winter will be a welcome reminder that…
- The chill in the air is reminiscent of the chill that can grown inside our hearts.
- Slippery sidewalks remind us how dangerous it is to slip away from Christ.
- Barren trees whisper to us of a lack of spiritual vitality.
- Longer nights and shorter days represent the darkness we’ve allowed to replace the light.
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. – Hebrews 12:8
Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. – Ecclesiastes 7:3-4
“Winters in Russia are so harsh that they are a natural defense during war. For example, rather than entering into peace negotiations with Napoleon Bonaparte, Tsar Alexander 1 decided to let Russia’s cold winter deal with the French invaders.”
“59 Cold Facts About Winter” by Karin Lehnardt, November 2016
Winter can drive the enemy away. Satan would love to see our afflictions become stumbling blocks, but we should see them as valuable weapons of warfare!
She is not afraid of the *snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. – Proverbs 31:21
Winter is inevitable and incidental, but it is also indelible. If we will take the Winter season with a good attitude and notebook in hand, it will leave an impression on us that can last a lifetime and on into eternity. Only a fool comes out of a hardship having learned nothing of value. Those who fear the Lord will come out of their hardships wiser, stronger, and more in love with their Father than ever before.
In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer. – Albert Camus
For God’s Glory,
Chelsea Bolks is a church of Christ minister’s wife, and the home educating mother of two children. She and her family currently reside in Northwest Iowa.
Don’t knock the weather. If it didn’t change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn’t start a conversation.
– Kin Hubbard