Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Winter (11/14/05)
TITLE: My Dear Child
By Patrick Verbeten
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“It was a cold and stormy night in the ghetto. Jamaal was P.O.ed…” So goes the popular story. Like Jamaal, you too are going through a cold and stormy night.
Such a time can be likened to a winter season of life. Just as nature’s winter can be long and cold, cruel and harsh, so also are winter seasons in life. But look closer. There are finer points to be seen when we look at these two winters.
In nature’s winter we have fires to keep us warm. So also, be warmed by the fire of faith in your friends and family. When your faith is weak, or cool, let us warm you up from our abundance. And, when I am going through a winter season, I will call on your faith for warmth. You have done it for others, and are doing it now, even in your time of need. This gives me confidence that you will be there for me in my need.
Notice also, that God placed the day we celebrate the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ, in the darkest part of winter. Was this an accident by well-meaning humans? No! I am convinced that Father was gifting us both for the natural season the spiritual season. Just as God has given us a celebration place in winter, find your celebration place during your hard time. It may be a song, a friend or a verse from His word. God will provide it if you look.
The dirt and grime of winter can overwhelm us if we let it. Here too, God has made a way. He blankets the earth with fresh coverings of pure white snow to cover up the filth. In the same way, look for fresh coverings of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control during your winter season. You may find them anywhere, but especially in areas unrelated to your present sorrows. Let them blanket you afresh and new each day.
And finally, do not forget the promise of spring. Hold on! We know from nature that winter is always followed by spring. The spring brings new growth, hope and the promise of salvation. But, we had to go through winter to get here. There is something about the bitter cold that makes the trees greener and the flowers fresher. When you are on the other side of your winter season, you too will be more beautiful and fragrant in a spiritual sense. You can be confident of this.
So how does Jamaal’s story end? I doubt anyone knows. Perhaps that is as it should be. And, in the same way, I cannot promise you a “happily ever after” ending, but I can promise you this: your current circumstances will work for God’s glory and your eternal benefit. And, I can promise you that after your winter season will come the spring. And unlike Jamaal, you don’t need to be P.O.ed….
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