Winter

It is Valentine’s Day and snowing here in middle America. This is the day of love, we’re told. Tradition, media, and society show us what love looks like. But what if your life doesn’t look like that? What if you are in the season of winter? What if your winter has been going on for a long, long time?
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DSCN1760Don’t be misled or feel inadequate if you don’t fit the mold of marketers on this day of candy, cards, dinners, and flowers. In truth, love doesn’t fit into that mold either. It can’t be reduced to a stereotype. It can’t be forced. It comes in its own time and may never look like an advertisement or movie. Do we really want it to, anyway? Isn’t that a rather small depiction of love? In Solomon’s writings, love is large and is intertwined with seasons.
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From Ecclesiastes ~ To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven ~
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3:5  A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.
3:8  A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

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From Song of Solomon
2:4  He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.
2:7  I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.
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DSCN1764The wisteria vines on my pergola are barren right now; they respond to the seasons. If they leaf out too soon, they won’t withstand the freezing temperatures. The same is true of the weigela and willow bushes. They are safe in their dormancy, optimally adapted to their winter environment. Soon, it will be spring and buds will form. As the temperature warms, their flowers and leaves will emerge. Their time will come.

 

Your spring and summer will come too.
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Song of Solomon 2:11  See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. 12 Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. 13 The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
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In all seasons God is with you, loving you, protecting you, and caring for you. He has not forgotten you. Your spring and summer will come.

Personal Landslide

We all know people who don’t want to face the world on a given day. They are tired of being stepped on, and generally sick of the crap of life. Some are overwhelmed by the state of society—”The world is evil; there’s no point; evil is winning”—while some are direct targets of crushing injustice.

In either case, we hear it in their anger. It is evident in their depression. It has become personal. They’re buried under it.

To all those in a state of defeat, worry, frustration, reactive anger, or agony, know that hope is alive somewhere under the rubble. Love is in there too. Faith is recoverable beneath your personal landslide. We hear its life, its breath, its cry for mercy. 

It’s true that corruption and oppression are real, powerful, suffocating, and sometimes deadly. But it hasn’t won. You’re not done breathing. You’re not done with faith, hope, and love. Those three have not flat-lined.

For all those not presently buried, help those who are. It was us yesterday; it could be us tomorrow. Dig to rescue those who are struggling for breath. Shovel the weighty debris off their backs. Get on hands and knees, and push aside the dirt and clay until victims have access to air, to faith, to hope, to love.

Together, let’s resuscitate faith, hope, and love. Those three do remain in people as individuals, and among humanity collectively.

1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.