When Winter Comes Early

Well, it seems winter came early for our region.  Approximately eight inches of snow arrived on October 23rd.  We typically expect a bit of snow in November, with our majority coming in December and January, so, snow in October found us surprised, shocked, caught off guard, and not mentally ready.  Our flowers were still blooming.  Our lawns were still green.  Leaves were just beginning to turn to their autumn colors.  And then came the snow.  Relentless.  Almost all day and into the night it fell.  Piling on, inch after inch.  Branches broke.  Possessions were buried.  Roads were obscured and treacherous for drivers.  And then came the cold the following day.  Winds whipped the snow into drifts across the ground and rooftops.  Gusts blasted trees and drifts, sending swirls of snow into the air.  And the temperature dropped, and dropped, and dropped, all the way down into the teens.  Surprised comments, sighs, and groans escaped the lips of many.  A few may have even shed some tears.

Sometimes, life is like an early heavy snowfall.  Blizzards of problems fall down on us unexpectedly and relentlessly.  One day, our lives are sunny, and the next, we need to break out the winter gear.  Our health gets buried in doctor’s appointments and medical bills, we face the sharp winds of grief when we lose a loved one, we watch irreparable damage come when our retirement savings disappear as our company folds and puts our pink slip in the mail.  Now what will we do?  How can we go on when we can’t even see which way is up, or forward, or through?

When dreams die, and our plans don’t go as planned, our life landscapes look bleak, barren, and hopeless.  Depression colors our skies gray.  Our hearts become cold and joyless.  Our thoughts become dark and desolate.  We feel forlorn, forgotten, and forsaken.

This happens to all of us at one time or another, in different forms and fashions.  The account of Job as told in the Bible shows us that sometimes every aspect of who we are gets hit, all at the same time, before we are even finished processing the reality of the first thing that happened.  Job lost his ten children, his livelihood, his wealth, his health, the support of his wife and friends, his reputation, and any comfort he had.  He was alone.  Alone with his thoughts, with his overwhelming grief, with a crowd of unsupportive people.  But then, things changed.  He had a talk with God.

God’s perspective got Job through the blinding, swirling cloud of questions and doubts.  Truth pervaded his darkness.  The immensity and majesty of God’s power broke through and changed everything.

Job got up out of the dirt, realizing that God had a plan, and God could do anything.

And then, Job continued to live.  A new depth of relationship with God remade him from the inside out.  Hope and joy came again.  New blessings arrived.  New purpose set him on a new path. 

So, if you have gone into the wintry ditch, look up.  There are still sunrises and sunsets.  Look at the beauty that is still there.  Look at the silvery-blue skies crafted by the hand of the Almighty God.  Look at the glimmer in the sparkles of snow. 

While things sleep, waiting for the next phase of God’s plan, progress is underway.  Moisture is being put into the earth, and plants are resting in preparation for the work of spring.  They are awaiting their cue from their Maker, and then the wonder of spring will unfold.  We, too, can anticipate the bloom that is coming and prepare for it now.

Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”*  Because He lives, we can live also.  Faith, hope, love, and resurrection power will cause us to bloom when the timing is just right. 

So, have a conversation with God, and hold on for spring.  He is doing something in you even now, and you are going to be a new and beautiful creation.

~~~~~

Isaiah 55:6–13 (NKJV)

Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

10 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

12 “For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree,
And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree;
And it shall be to the Lord for a name,
For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

~~~~~

*Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)

©Text and photos Francee Strain, October 24, 2020

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