As winter is here to stay in my area a bit sooner than expected, I thought of this snippet I wrote several years ago. You can read this and over 90 other short devotions in my book, “Seasons”. I updated the following just a bit for today’s blog.
Hosea 6:3 – “Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”
Living in north-central Alberta, I find November to be difficult. Although the calendar promises that spring is only 4 months away, the truth is that real spring won’t occur for at least another five months. I am held captive by the dead of winter. The days are short; the weather is bone-chilling cold. Icy sidewalks and roads have no opportunity to melt naturally. As there are always a few people who refuse to clear their sidewalks, I am trapped on my block, unable to take care of daily tasks, such as banking, shopping and more, since my power chair cannot navigate through deep snow or ice-blocked sidewalk corners.
As a result, I am isolated for weeks at a time. Although I am naturally an introvert, I struggle with melancholy and self-pity on the gloomiest days. I thank God for providing me with weapons to use against these destructive and dangerous foes. The joy of the Lord is one weapon. As I deliberately choose to rejoice, He strengthens me. Even when I find it difficult to be thankful within the harsh realities of winter, God faithfully reminds me where my strength lies.
Intentional gratefulness is a great antidote for seasonal melancholy.
During the long winter, I am often given the opportunity to rejoice with a local friend as they can escape the harsh weather for a week or two. I have a choice; I can rejoice with them or grumble to myself, which only deepens the chill and darkness of my own winter experience. I have the choice; I can be jealous of their blessing, or I can choose to align my heart with their testimony of hope.
In contrast to Canada’s winter, November is early spring in Australia and New Zealand. Many of my Aussie and Kiwi friends who use Facebook are beginning to share their photographs and stories of outdoor adventures. While I allow myself a certain measure of wistful ‘I wish I were there’ moments, I genuinely give thanks for God’s blessings in their lives. As I pour over their photos and read their stories, I bask in the sun along with them, and my faith is strengthened because I know that the same God who blesses them will bless me in due season.
Patience, combined with the absence of covetousness, will fertilise an abundant crop.
When friends experience a great harvest in their lives, I rejoice, no matter what my own personal circumstances may be. I know that the spring rain that falls upon them will eventually fall on me, washing off the soot and grime. If I remain faithful and pure of heart, I will see the promise of new life and new growth in the small seedlings that lie dormant in my own heart during my personal winter. I have learned that bitterness, resentment and self-pity do nothing to lift the gloomy clouds of a spiritual February in my life. If anything, these sins only harden the soil of my heart, making it difficult for new growth to spring forth at God’s appointed time.
©2012, 2022 Katherine Walden