It’s so gloomy this time of year. From mid-January till the first sign of spring towards the end of March, are hard months for a lot of people. I’d very much like to be transported to a sunny place during these long winter months. I’m not sure how people in serious winter climates can manage it. Cold winter weather does nothing for me.
When I was a kid, the chance of snow thrilled me. I would hope for it, pray for it and wait. On the rare occasions that it did snow in my little Alabama hometown, an inch of snow might as well have been six feet. As a town, we shut down. No school for the kids, and no work for the adults. I’ve often called snow days God’s
“Forced Family Fun Days”
Everyone had a fire in the fireplace, and a steaming cup of hot chocolate in their hands. We’d pulled out everything we could find to use as a sled. No one owned a real sled. I don’t think anyone even sold sleds where I grew up. But that was okay. We turned garbage can lids, inner tubes, and cookie sheets into make shift sleds, and off we went.
The first snowman I ever made was only eight inches tall. It’s the best I could do out of an inch of snow.
Fun in the snow didn’t lessen as I grew older. I’ll never forget the snow day when my older brother woke me up early to show me it had snowed. A lot. There had to be at least three inches on the ground. (Wow) I was in high school at the time, and really preferred sleeping in, but he wouldn’t have it. He drug me out of bed, I got dressed, and we took off outside.
We jumped on his four-wheeler, and rode all over town taking in the winter wonderland the place had become. It was beautiful.
I was sure I was going to die.
Hanging on for dear life to the back of that four-wheeler while my brother did doughnuts in each of the three school yards in town, (probably his way of thumbing his nose at the public education he’d received there) pretty near scared me to death. (On second thought that was probably his intention all along… scaring me to death, that is.)
Thankfully I survived that snow day. I still think snow is pretty, but I’ll enjoy it from the inside looking out most of the time these days. I’m not a fan of being cold anymore. And if I’m not careful the gloominess of these winter days can really start to drag me down.
It’s then that I have to remember the hope of spring. I know that spring will come. It has come every year of my forty-three years. Never once have I had to go without it. It’s a hope I can cling to without a doubt. It gets me through these hard winter days.
Hope is a powerful thing. It’s a gift really. As Christians we have a kind of hope not offered to those who do not believe. The Bible tells us that “we do not mourn like those who have no hope.” (Thessalonians 4:13) Of course that verse is speaking specifically about those we have lost in death, but t really doesn’t matter what we mourn. Whether it’s missing the warm days of summer, or a loved one we have lost. Could be we mourn a broken relationship or loss of financial security. Whatever our desperate situation might be, because of Christ- we do not mourn without hope.
There have been a few times in my life where I have experienced hopelessness. It’s truly a lousy place to be. There’s profound sadness, and desolation there. Huge emptiness and loss. But I went there on my own. I chose to ignore the hope offered to me as a believer in Christ.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
Most of the time, when I have lost hope I have also lost the ability to see past my present circumstances. I find myself mired in the details of what’s gotten me down rather than trusting in the God that is bigger than my circumstances.
Hope is a commodity we should hold onto, not something we should trade in for attitudes that simply serve to keep us trapped in unhealthy places.
I know in my heart that God can make a way where there is no way. I don’t ever want to be heartsick and lost in hopelessness again. I want to stay full of the hope of Christ. I want to hold onto the ability to see past my circumstances, and know that as surely as spring will come again this year, that hope truly is life giving.