“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater.” (Isaiah 55:10, ESV)

As I look out my window this morning, the snow is falling, and the temperature hovers lower on the thermometer than I like. It is winter. Although some enjoy cold and snow, this is not my favorite season of the year. I prefer the warmth of spring and the new life that comes to the earth as temperatures rise. Yet, I can learn many things by observing the sharp, cold days of winter.

As I view the world outside my window, I see barrenness. Tree branches hang empty, their leaves long gone. The carpet of snow covers colorless grass. The rose bushes hold no blooms. Everything appears lifeless, but hidden underneath is the promise of life. The trees will push out new leaves; the grass will become green; and new roses will bud on the bush. That blanket of snow will melt and seep deep into the earth to water roots and cause new life to spring forth.

Do you feel you are in a season of winter’s barrenness? Does your life seem unproductive and without promise? Yes, we realize life has different seasons, but we don’t always enjoy our present season. We do not recognize its potential for growth.

Someone once described winter as “the season of surrender.” I had to think about that for a while, but it’s true. When winter brings the unexpected—a blizzard, icy conditions, or freezing temperatures—we surrender what we planned to do for what we can do. Similarly, when life’s circumstances bring the unexpected, it’s important to surrender to our season. What I mean by this is to seek God’s guidance on how to change what seems a wintery blast into a time of preparation for growth.

We can learn from our winter season. I jotted down a few things that might help us when winter seems bleak. Please add your own thoughts on how God can use our most difficult times to bring spiritual growth into our lives.

  • We can discover beauty and purpose in even the most difficult of seasons.
  • The unexpected will happen, but we must allow God to guide us in those times.
  • We cannot rush the season, but we should use our time wisely in that season.
  • The sun will shine again. If not today, perhaps tomorrow. But it will shine again!
  • Things are happening underneath that we cannot see at the moment.

Although we may not consider winter as a time of hope, it really is. The winter season promises us that new things will soon spring forth. Let’s surrender to our season, allowing God to cultivate the hidden seeds of winter into new growth in our lives.

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Mary enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and spending time with old friends. Although directionally challenged, she would rather take the back roads with their discoveries than the boredom of the interstate.

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