Winter is coming. When I realized that, I probably said something like, “Man! Why?? My life is over for the next several months!” But is it?
As it turns out, winter is a necessary refreshing that gives birth to springtime and then summer. Like King Solomon wrote, “There is an appointed time for everything.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) Enduring the cold, sometimes dreary weather actually makes me stronger in several ways. Now, I realize that making it through winter isn’t quite like enduring life’s hardships, but the idea is similar. Here’s what James, Jesus’ half-brother, said about faith and enduring:
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. (James 1:2-3).
Sometimes, our life can feel like a perpetual winter. My sister and a good friend are working through bouts of cancer. Two other friends are unemployed and faced with potential financial hardships. I’m working through my own trials as I seek to re-enter the workforce after a several-year sabbatical and heal from a recent knee replacement. Yet, some of us are persevering—enduring—with outstanding attitudes and strong responses. That kind of character supplies hope, potentially in this life and indeed in the one to come. The apostle Paul taught the Roman Christians that their endurance through trials would produce excellent character, which would, in turn, develop hope:
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope (Romans 5:3-4)
Don’t worry. If you’re going through trials or struggles and you’re a child of God, you have His Spirit to comfort, teach, and guide you. As with winter, remember that whatever you’re experiencing will likely end, and ‘spring’ will come. You’ve got this! But if you feel you’re losing the struggle or need a hand, seek professional help right away! What’s next? As we approach remembrance of the Pearl Harbor destruction of December 7, 1941, we’ll explore the dangers of being unprepared—spiritually, in our case.
Blessings and peace,
Dr. Ron Braley