Read:

“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. . . . And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:24-25, 28 ESV

Reflect:

To be honest, I hate winter. I hate that trees and flowers die away, and I hate that it’s too cold to spend time outside. What’s ironic is that winter is the longest season of them all. Its tendrils reach deep into late fall and well into early spring and it is not scarcely acknowledged or even studied that people are prone to feel more depressed and fatigued through the winter months than in any other season.

My coping strategy for winter has been to ignore it as best as possible until it goes away. The interesting thing about this tendency is that I’ve realized, in these short twenty years, that the seasons making up nature’s progression through time are a lot like the “seasons” that make up my own progression through life; and the longer I go, the more profoundly convinced I am that learning to appreciate the concept of seasons is how we learn to appreciate and make peace with life itself.

We all know that God is sovereign over our lives, and that it doesn’t shock Him when the more difficult seasons come our way. This truth cannot remain as mere head knowledge, however, or else we will flounder when we experience those long periods of time where all we can do is struggle and suffer along, wondering if our hardships are ever going to end. The only way to get through is to keep trudging forward, believing with your whole heart that God is working even the hardest, coldest, and longest seasons out for His glory and the good of His children. Appreciate the beauty around you, even when it is hard to find and when it seems as if everything you appreciated in previous seasons is dying away. Because what you cannot yet see is that new life is growing underground.

Pray:

Father, help me to trust Your sovereignty over the seasons of my life, especially the seasons that are uncomfortable. Sometimes it feels like the hardship will never really end. Help me to trust the truth in Your Word more than I trust my feelings. Give me clarity, perspective, and faith. Thank You for Your plans. I praise and persevere in the fact that You are good, and that manifests in how You direct the seasons of my life, even when I cannot see the bigger picture.

Your Turn:

Take a moment to count your blessings today (literally name them one by one, either in writing or out loud) whether they be tangible or intangible things. Appreciate the unique opportunities for beauty in the seasons that seem most full of death and destruction. What are some hard or hopeless moments in your past that God ended up using for His glory and for your good?