The Deep South of the United States is just emerging from an unusual deep freeze, and it’s been bitterly cold here in Atlanta< Georgia for several weeks. Of course, I realize that when people around here talk about night time temperatures in the teens and daytime highs reaching the low thirties, many from more northern climates are understandably apt to snicker and maybe launch into a few stories about ‘how cold it is where I live.’ I get it. In fact, I do know that there are places where 30 degrees would be considered balmy. But that’s not the story in the lower U.S.A. Here, the deepest part of winter generally lasts about 5 weeks or so and then we’re back to shirt sleeve weather and watching the daffodils begin to push up through the ground by mid-February.
So yeah…. for us, it’s been cold and for the first time in many years we have a real winter (even with some snow!) I even had to go out and buy a heavy coat for Jason because the last time he needed one he was about 4 inches shorter!
This past weekend as I sat at our kitchen table warming my hands around a cup of hot tea, I gazed out the back window and took note of how lifeless the bare trees looked with their gnarly branches reaching toward the featureless gray sky.
But the longer I sat there, the more green I noticed. Not on the leafless limbs of the hardwoods, but instead on the boughs of the evergreen trees that stand nearby. Those trees were as healthy looking and enduring as if it was a pleasant spring day! The hostile temperatures hadn’t affected them at all as they continued to stand tall and unaffected by the cold.
Isn’t that a picture of how believers ought to be? Christians should to be the ones who stand out against the landscape of humanity when the “harsh weather” hits. I’m not saying that it’s easy to endure when the biting cold of pain, disappointment or hurt hits us. No one really likes going through hard times. But when the winds of adversity come (as they will), we ought not wither and lose our ‘leaves’ like people who don’t have a relationship with the One who holds the future in His hands.
When you feel down and discouraged about the cold realities that have blown into your life, don’t forget that, as a believer, this, as all seasons are, is only temporary. Even if things end up very differently than you hoped or desired, spring and its promise of new life (either here or in eternity) is still coming. That ought to change the way we respond to whatever comes our way because the truth is, others are watching our response and will judge the validity of our faith in God by what we say and do in the deepest part of ‘winter.’
So stand tall and let your confidence in God’s ultimate assurance of eternal life be a stalwart beacon that draws others toward the Savior before the fleeting mist of this temporary existence fades before the radiance of His return!
“…the Lord upholds the righteous.
The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care,
and their inheritance will endure forever.
In times of disaster they will not wither…”
Psalm 37, 17-19