It has been a long, horrid winter.
Admittedly, winter is not my most favorite of seasons. Sunshine, sand, and flip-flops are more my speed.
But this one was exceptional. Worse than most.
Record lows took freezing to a new level. Wind gusts as fast as traveling cars threatened to knock those brave enough to venture outside to their knees. There were days when we literally feared we would be buried in snow.
Regardless of the severity of any winter, spring comes anyway. Hallelujah.
It’s true of life, isn’t it? Sure, we have moments of challenges, periods of growth in which we would rather not ever re-live but are nonetheless thankful for the transformation born from the hardships who make us who we are.
And then there are the events that happen, the stuff that divides our lives into the “before” and “after.”
Before the divorce and after the divorce.
Before the death of a child and after the death of a child.
Before the diagnosis and after the diagnosis.
They’re the pivotal winters, the ones that leave an imprint on us forever and change the essence of our very being.
Yet spring still comes. Joy comes in the morning.
Bleeding hearts heal and are refurbished with more,
blossoms bloom on the once dry and spindly branches of death, and
red buds sprout from sadness, from the brink of doom and possible extinction.
We suffer. We learn. We heal. Rinse and repeat.
We are guaranteed to have trouble in this world. Jesus didn’t say we “might” have trouble. He said we will. (John 16:33) I wish it weren’t true but alas, there wouldn’t be much motivation to get to heaven if it weren’t so very accurate.
But no matter how deep the trouble, no matter how brutal the winter, no matter how searing the pain . . .
He has overcome the world.
If you are walking through a brutal winter of your own, know this: He is there. I know there are times when you feel alone but it’s just not true. He didn’t cause the divorce or the death of the child or the illness, but He will make beauty from ashes. Every. Single. Time.
He’s in the restoration business. A man who reupholsters your couch didn’t cause the damage, but he most certainly will restore it to great beauty.
Also know this: it will get better. Take it from someone who knows. In the words of Mark Batterson from his book, The Circle Maker, this is not a period at the end of the sentence of your life. This is a comma.
A comma is a pause, an indicator to the reader to stop for a moment before moving forward.
Those cold, brutal winters are commas. We pause before moving forward but move forward we will. Present suffering is nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)
And when we move forward after the comma, the coming of the next sentence is seen through new eyes.
The colors are more vibrant. The scents are sweeter. Warm breezes dance flirtatiously over our skin.
Through Him, you have conquered and the beautiful glory will restore within you the new hope of spring.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:37-39