The Winter of Our Discontent

Some people hate winter. I can understand the sentiment. The weather here in Missouri has been cold, windy, and snowy over the past few weeks. It has been an excellent time to stay inside where it is safe and warm, but we all know that this is just the beginning.

The writers of scripture don’t spend much time discussing the weather. Paul speaks of where he was going to stay through the cold months, and he wanted his friend Timothy to come and visit him before winter (2 Tim 4:21). The Psalmist writes that God created both summer and winter (Psalm 74:17).

I find this a curious notion as many of my conversations at Sunday morning worship have revolved around the topic of the weather for years. These range from the rain we wish would stop, to the rain we wish we would receive. Snow and winter also are hot topics and never escape the dialog of people both before and after they arrive.

Nowhere was the issue of winter more relevant than the five years I spent in Alaska. You prepare for the coming of winter all summer long. We would watch the mountains across that bay received snow that was called a “termination dust” as a sign that winter had almost arrived, and summer was terminated. As the winter wore on, we would complain about the shortness of sunlight and sadness of being trapped inside. The weather shaped not only our conversations but our very lives.

There is a line in Shakespeare’s play Richard III where the character speaks of our winter of discontent. I have been feeling that lately. The weather has made for a great dissatisfaction with life for me and others. Interestingly enough, his line is not one of despair, but of hope. Richard is celebrating his family’s victory and the coming time of peace. The line is about our winter being turned into summer. The frustration of one season will give birth to something new and better. It is so optimistic that is it reminds me of a line from the Apostle Paul.

In Philippians chapter four, Paul tells the Church that they need to learn to be content whatever the circumstances. He qualifies that with statements like whether we are in need or have plenty. Maybe he could have said, in winter and in summer. Then next he says, I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. Finally, he gives us the key ingredient, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Phil. 4:13).”

As winter settles onto our land, do not let it sink into your heart. God will get you through, and he will turn your winter of discontent into a summer of blessing. So when the wind cuts like a knife, the snow hits your face, and the kids are sick another day; Trust that God will give you the strength to make it through another day, and summer is right around the corner.

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