*Deep In Cold Winter

We are deep in a cold snap here in Minnesota.  Today the Polar vortex is in full play.   We complain a lot here about our winters. We love to point out that somewhere in the state was the coldest temperature of any given winter day. 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 go ice fishing,  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.

I’ve learned 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. In my own painful troubles, I’ve discovered that God is in the business of walking with us through life’s hard winters, planting seeds of hope along the way. Then, when we least expect it, surprising us with those very seeds, bursting into flower.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is thy faithfulness.
‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul,
‘therefore I will hope in him.’” Lamentations 3:22-23

*A version of this post was first published as Cold Winters and Springtime Hope, January 9, 2015.

St Paul Winter Carnival 2023