When the winter’s been too long… and even the evergreens are brown!

As it’s the end of April and I’m walking around the house with my coat on, I thought I’d post something I wrote a few years ago but never actually published. Will winter ever let go? On this drippy day, the words still seem to fit — minus the snow, thank goodness!

Hope the words help you find some warmth!

***

Cold, cold, cold....

Cold, cold, cold….

Cold! Wind! And of course, Snow! Yes, on May 16th!!! Anyone else notice those are 4-letter words?

and “Polar Vortex”? Well, with a [p] and a [v] AND an [x], it sure looks like one of those #!$%^#* words, doesn’t it?

Truthfully, how is it that something we all look forward to in November — the first snowfall, that chilly snap in the air, snuggling in a bulky sweater or a comfy blanket, and a sparkling White Christmas — looks so dull and mundane and monotone by March?

By May? There just aren’t words to describe it. Pure white glitter in the early winter, now just a backache and muddy “snirt” (snow/dirt).

I hear it everywhere I go… People longing for spring–on more than just the calendar. For warmth. For sun… Tired of wearing coats. Tired of dry skin. Tired of wearing so many layers that finding your keys means searching your own pockets for 30 minutes…. In fact, I just heard there’s a petition going around. Against the weather. When asked what they hoped to accomplish, their answer? “We’re going to Win!!”

To be fair, we’ve had hints of the new season giving us hope. Or perhaps just teasing us before it wakes us up to more flakes and more wind. A few days ago was glorious. 70 degrees. The grass, green. The trees with that furry feather look of buds popping out. Two days later?!! Three shirts, heavy jeans, a jacket, a winter coat, hat, gloves, and huddling in a fluffy blanket at the kids’ track meets and soccer games all week.

Do I sound negative?

Yes, I know I do, but recently a friend asked me, “Do you ever feel like you’ve just had enough? Like you just can’t do it anymore?  Raw, deep, real emotion. And no, she wasn’t just talking about the weather –although, I think with more scientific understanding of our bodies’ needs for Vitamin D and sunlight, the weather could get us there by itself.

But unfortunately, as we all experience the weather –the one equalizer on people of all genders, socio-economic levels, ages– our attitudes can frost over with it, and we tend to take it out on each other. Some of you –as different Waldos in the world– are in just the opposite situation. Heat so blistering, tempers ignite with the rocketing mercury and darken like the burned grass.  So much rain and storms, you feel washed out. So little rain, life seems to have shriveled like a raisin.

And again, I’m not just talking about the weather. The world has just gone crazy! And, sadly, it’s easy to grow weary in doing good…

So now what?

I can find myself like Job. Sitting in my dust and ashes, asking, “Why, God, why? What are you trying to tell us?”

So, if I’m sitting there anyway, I figure I might as well read the Lord’s answer.

It starts with Elihu, the young friend with ancient wisdom:

  • Job 33:4 ” The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life. 13Why do you complain against Him That He does not give an account of all His doings? 14Indeed, God speaks once or twice, yet no one notices it. 16Then He opens the ears of men 17that He may turn man aside from His conduct and keep man from pride 19Behold, God does all these often times with men, 30To bring back his soul from the pit, that he may be enlightened with the light of life.”

Ahh, the light of life– Warmth! Coming from the One who is the Light of the World.

And,

  • 37:5 God thunders with His voice wondrously, Doing great things which we cannot comprehend. 6For to the snow He says, “Fall on the earth,’ And to the downpour and the rain, ‘Be strong.’ 13Whether for correction, or for His world, Or for steadfast love, He causes it to happen.”

I admit… I’m left with Job, humbly saying, Boy, Lord, how can I reply. I need to just cover my mouth and stop talking! [40:4].

For You have “commanded the morning and caused the dawn to know its place.” [38:12]

And You “satisfy the waste and desolate land and make the seeds of grass to sprout.” [38:27]

Because “You can do all things! And no purpose of Yours can be thwarted!” [Job 42:2]

What a sweet, warm reminder when I feel like everything is cold!

Yes, the world seems frosty and mixed up…and yes, sometimes barren.

But as much as I love waking up to birds singing and flowers blooming –and, yes, warm weather (at least in the 60s if not 70s!)– that isn’t where my Hope comes from. Or my Joy.

“Look at the heavens and see” [35:5]
“I will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.” [36:3]

“For man prays to God, and He accepts him,
that he may see God’s face with joy.”
[33:26]

His face, my joy!

It’s easy to sit in the ashes and dust and complain about the weather. Or life in general.

Look to the Heavens and see His Face

Look to the Heavens and see His Face

But how much better to lift my eyes up to Him
and wait on Him who is working out His plan.

Because He sees all my steps [34:21]…

He knows all my works [34:25]…

I am “the work of His hands! [34:19]”

…and He is warming my heart! (Even in the midst of this cold.)

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