Reflections 1/14/24

Winter and Faith

Imagine, for a moment, waking up on a January morning having lost all memories of the cycle of the seasons.  As the weeks progress, facing dark and gloomy morning after dark and gloomy morning, we might come to expect that winter will last forever.  However, we begin to hear stories of an oncoming spring, bringing sunshine, warmth, and abundant life.  How do we react to such claims?

There seem to be three general ways that we might react to the promises of spring while living in the reality of a frigid world.

As we leave the cold dreariness of January and encounter the bitter winds and ice of February, we might well reject any thoughts that the winter will ever end.  Our own eyes would give us all the evidence we need, and we might look at those who promise otherwise as fallible or perhaps even deliberately misleading us.  We may notice a minute or two of extra sunlight each morning and evening, but those scant changes could hardly challenge winter’s bleakness.  As we give in to our despair, we pull our coats tighter around us and wearily trudge through the eternal gloom.

Or perhaps we might rejoice at the promise of spring!  After all, we deserve to be warm! We are entitled to sunshine!  The world owes us comfort and joy!  So we cast away our winter coats and hats, sit at our window, and, in our presumption of spring-to-come, we sit and stare at our thermometer day after day, waiting for it to rise.

Our final option is the most difficult, for it forces us to trust something beyond our experience while still living in the real world.  If we believe that spring is coming, then we must also believe that we are made for something more than enduring bitter cold, while still being called to endure it.  Perhaps the true idea to reflect on here is what our trust in spring-to-come calls us to do while winter still reigns.  How do we respond to the challenges that we face?  How do we aid those defeated by the cold?  What actions do we take both for today and for the promised days to come?

It is winter; how do we respond to Christ, Who promises an eternal spring for those who answer His call to walk in His Way?

– Bill Merlock