Cold Winters and Springtime Hope

We are deep into a cold snap here in Minnesota. It’s not that we aren’t used to times like this. Last winter was an ordeal that tested the hardiest among us. But, I did enjoy some December days when we basked in thirty degree weather. The scarf and gloves got left behind. Shorts sprouted in some quarters. Today the Polar vortex is back in full play. So, I’m hunkering down trying to forget how cold it is outside.

We complain a lot in Minnesota about our winters. We love to point out that somewhere in the state was the coldest temperature of any given winter. We’re proud too of our robustness and our ability to handle the elements. For a good cause, we raise funds by plunging through ice-covered lakes into freezing water. We put on winter carnivals and ice carving contests. A degree of madness hits us when January arrives. We hold our breath and try to make merry out of misery.

We do best when we take the troubles in our lives and try to find something of value in them. In the midst of crisis we discover ourselves growing wiser or more sensitive. Difficulties stretch our capacity to grow and mature. Our heartache opens a doorway to another’s sorrow. We build friendships in our shared search for answers. Deep in the cold winters of our lives, seeds settle in and ready themselves to be born. I have learned in my own painful troubles that God is in the business of walking with us through life’s hard winters, planting seeds of hope. Then, when we least expect it, surprising us with seeds bursting into flower.