The Sprigs of Winter

Fall is here.

Where I live, it’s my experience that the fall season is typically short…just long enough to drop leaves from the trees. It's my favorite time of the year because we're finally leaving the smoldering humid heat of summer. In our fall, we can actually go from a hot 90 degrees during the day to the 40s in the evening.

When winter hits it gets bitter… cold to the bone. Rarely ever do we have snow. Instead, we have treacherous ice. It coats the streets like a sheet. The naked tree branches are coated in a beautiful shimmer, while cars are sliding sideways into each other, and soon multiple branches of those lovely old trees break off from the weight. If a warm 40-degree day comes and enough ice melts, where there was once lush beautiful green foliage, it's all left looking like a war zone. The night comes and it freezes all over again like a sad, hopeless still-life. 

But I can still see all this through the eyes of hope, because the Creator of all this, our great God will faithfully warm and restore the earth in the Spring just like He always has. 

This picture reminds me of other aspects of life. My easiest season of life has quickly passed. The bitterness of winter has hit my earthly temple, giving me much grief, and life as I had always known it, is behind me. But I cling to the promise that I will be able to jump into the arms of my King in my glorified body and cling to him there. 

Another aspect I can see in those once ice-laden trees is the damage being done to the American "landscape" of human decency. It quite literally looks and feels like a war zone in many places. It might seem that overnight a peaceful and civil society has become just a memory. In fact, it wasn’t overnight.

It feels irreparable. Our country's winter of life feels bitter, bitter cold. But then history seems to show us He's given mankind a resilience to push through in times past. With His strength, we will persevere bringing Him the glory He so deserves.

Lastly, the church is challenged to Love in the midst of this winter and to not grow cold along with the world. A lack of love, like the ice on the tree branches, will weaken and destroy her. A house divided cannot stand.

We have the promise of heaven where the temperature is always perfect, because Love rules! 

But until He comes for us...

Have you ever seen photos of the miracle of a hopeful little green sprig pushing up through the snow? I didn’t know that there are roses and other flowers that grow beautifully in the winter, in the snow. The Christmas rose if one of those. Our Creator is amazing! Is He not? 

He sends little messages of love through the kindness of true believers, who push through the icy hate that seems to dominate and in doing so, melts a hard heart.

Forgiveness is one of those roses. Humility in the face of false accusations is another.

Love is most vividly noticed when she reigns over the harshest climate of every form of rejection… the most notable ever is when Jesus went to the cross.

I yearn for heaven more than ever before, but while today is still today, and we're still here, I've noticed that He's placed faithful green sprigs in unexpected and unlikely places and climates to show us He's still here and at work. I want to be one of His little sprigs in this harsh winter. It is still Truth and always will be, that He has overcome the world and any worry that might concern my heart is already answered. Fear is vanquished. The greatest gifts Jesus bestows on us is hope and sufficient grace for the darkest days, while He is the Light that guides us.

~Sherry Merrihew

*Scriptures: John 8:12 ; Daniel 2:21; Isaiah 55:10 ; 2 Cor.5:1-10 ; John 16:33 ; Psalms 50:1

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Who made heaven and earth,

The sea and all that is in them; Who keeps faith forever.

Psalm 146:6