Winter Seasons - patience for difficult times
Colds, flu, dry and cracked skin, snow, ice, frigid temperatures, cold hands, blankets, hats, gloves, winter coats, even soup. I want it all to go away. I am done with winter. I’m ready for warm sunshine, baseball bats, green grass, open windows, and the smell of the grill. If only my spring fever could replace the nasty, sick kind of fevers that are so rampant right now.
I am so sick of winter that I’ve even been tempted to pray that spring come early. I seriously considered praying the words, “Please, God, end winter and bring spring more quickly.” But I didn’t. Instead, I prayed that God give me the patience to wait for spring.
Life is like that. There are seasons where we wish for time to move faster. We simply want to finish this season because the next looks so much better. For you, maybe it’s a time of illness, struggles at work, family problems, or financial worries. Whatever your winter season is, you’ve likely prayed for it to end quickly.
Even Jesus experienced the desire for such a season to end. On the night of his betrayal in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus withdrew from his disciples to find a quiet place to pray. He knew what was coming. He was well aware that the next few hours would find him beaten, mocked, and hanging from a cross. As a man, He felt the pain of being stuck in a winter season and wishing it to be over. As God, He knew that this season was necessary for the salvation of mankind. Even though He could see the bigger picture and the necessity of the season, Jesus still wished it to be gone. He prayed, “...My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me...” (Matthew 26:39).
What a comfort to know that God understands winter seasons and the desire for them to pass. God not only hears your prayer, but feels your pain. He knows what you are facing is hard. He knows that you want it to be over. Your Creator also knows exactly what you can handle. God promises, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you” (Isaiah 43:2). The Apostle Paul who experienced more than his fair share of trials, wrote this encouragement to the Corinthians, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). In your winter season, remember that God will not let you be drowned, burned, crushed, despaired, forsaken, or destroyed.
No matter how desperate you are for this season to be over, God wants you to know that He is in the middle of it with you. Even as I look out my window at the gray sky, brown grass, and bare, lifeless trees, I see a few tiny snowflakes illuminated by the sun. In this winter season, we may have to look harder, but when we allow them, our eyes will find the Son. “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 120:1-2). God is not going to push the fast forward button so that you can speed through these struggles, but He will help you through them. The same God who led Jesus to the cross, will lead you through this winter season. When we pray for God to make time move more quickly and for this season to pass, we must also pray, like Jesus, “...nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39b).
Lord, I desperately want this winter season to be over, but I know that Your will is stronger and more perfect than my desperation. Lord, I pray that Your will is done. Truly. Your will. Please give me patience as I wait. Use this season to draw me closer to You and when it is over, help me give the glory, honor, and praise to You.