Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Give Thanks To God"1 (Lyrics)
Ecclesiastes 3:1 – There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. (NIV)
I have lived in Canada for fifty years, and I still don't enjoy winter. It seems like a waste of time to me because I don't like going outside. I find snow not just dangerous but boring. There it is, every day for months — dismal and dirty most of the time, causing innumerable problems. Gone are the bright colours of summer. I try to keep busy indoors to make time pass, but Seasonal Affectation Disorder (SAD) proves that we require light to improve our mood.
During last winter's first snowfall, I tripped on a hidden step and wrenched my hip. It ached for several weeks, sometimes causing muscle spasms. I worried that that might happen during an aqua-fit class, but because of bad weather, I missed some classes.
When I had the flu, I did not recover quickly. I led a four-week Bible study instead of twelve weeks. I missed talking to a close friend who passed away last fall. I missed hearing from a friend in England who has a condition that prevents her now from writing or typing. I missed our pastor who just retired. And we had more snow in April. It was a long winter.
I started new plants indoors. Robins return when the ground temperature reaches 2 degrees Celsius and worms come to the surface. Forsythia blooms when the air temperature reaches 12 degrees. That is the sign "when ground can be worked", as it says on seed packets, and that was the moment that I was longing for.
The first of May dawned with brilliant warm sunshine. After months of inactivity, I bounced up and down the stairs of our two-level house, transporting my seedlings outside. Then, my foot missed a stair, I crashed down — and fractured my ankle.
Frustrated, with a cast on my leg for seven weeks, I asked what God was trying to teach me. Then I remembered another time when in turmoil I heard a Voice clearly speak: Be still ("…and know that I am God" – Psalm 46:10a).
God is in control. Trusting God, the apostle Paul "learned the secret of being content in any and every situation" (Philippians 4:12b NIV). James, the brother of Jesus, tells us to "consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds" (James 1:2 NIV).
Psalm 66:10 – For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. (NIV)
Romans 8:28a – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. (NIV)
Summer has come and gone. Winter is on its way again. Working in my garden no longer seems so important. There is more to life than continually striving. Why grow roses if we don't take time to smell them?
For everything there is a season. Whatever "winter" looks like for us, it is a time to be still and trust God.
Prayer: Father, You know what is best for us, and You are in control. Help us to rest in Your arms and bask in Your light when life doesn't work out the way that we expect. Amen.