It’s hard to imagine spring right now when most of the country has been experiencing record cold. My breath spouts a smoky halo and my hand sticks to the metal buckle of my dog’s collar when my bulky gloves force me to go bare-handed for just a moment. Yet I know, even as I walk through snow so cold it crunches into powder beneath my feet, that even this winter cannot last forever.
Already the northern hemisphere has crossed the shortest day of the year. We may not feel the difference for several months, but we know that the days are getting longer. The sun is shining brighter. Victory belongs to spring.
That is winter’s promise.
In the darkest, coldest, most despairing moments of the year, the world is really just preparing for rebirth. New life is there, even today, sitting quietly in the snow. It will come. It always does.
Time is on spring’s side.
Winter is a season of rest. Of preparation. Of endurance. There is a reason that winter is often used as an analogy for some of the most difficult seasons of our life. These winter seasons are times where we struggle to persevere. It takes everything we have to simply endure. To simply survive. But these seasons are followed by spurts of new growth we could never experience in endless summer. No matter how dark and cold and impossible the moment is, new life is forming, hidden in the dark recesses. Without winter, there can be no spring.
God uses the dark moments to demonstrate victory. And the darker the moment, the greater the victory. We need only look to the cross for an example of how the darkest moment can give way to the greatest rebirth.
Winter allows us to stare darkness in the face and say, “Time is on our side!” It doesn’t matter, now, what else the darkness throws our way. The days are getting longer. The victory has already been won.
That is winter’s promise.
Sometimes life is a bit like tromping through snow. It’s cold, it’s dark, and the wind is hard and from the north. But do not let appearances deceive you. Deep down, we can know that victory belongs not to darkness, but to light; not to winter, but to spring.
God’s word consistently reminds us that even the darkest winter will not last forever.
Janet Beagle, Ph.D. serves as director of graduate programs for Purdue University’s College of Engineering and is a writer, a Bible study teacher, and a student of God’s word. In her spare time, she likes to eat other people’s cooking and hike with her dog, Marly. Read more of Janet’s Christian reflections at www.mustardpatch.org.