Links Daily Devotional

In Winter

Do your best to get here before winter. (2 Timothy 4:21, NIV)

I’m not ready for winter. Our readers in the Southern hemisphere can chuckle at our condition right about now, but snows have come to much of North America in recent days, and our European friends will soon get their own as well. Even in the milder climes, like the one I live in, the high temperature dropped 15 degrees in one day late last week, and rain lingered.

Many have written in our time about the seasons of life. Sometimes this is a long-term view, seeing the human chronology progressing from the budding of life in spring, to the summer heat of one’s youth and young adulthood, then on to the shedding of beauty that comes with the fall, and finally the cold chill that beckons life’s end.

There are, as well, the lesser seasons. We recognize—going through them sometimes, having emerged from them always—that some weeks and months of our lives are bright like June, while others are dark like January. Some days bring an air-clearing rain, others are shrouded in fog—metaphors, of course, but with no stretch to understand them.

As we mature, we become better at anticipating the fact that tough times may lie ahead. Yes, there might be a touch of pessimism in this, and we want to keep thanking God no matter the circumstances, but it is He who has given us the insight and wisdom that comes from experience. What good will it do if I act as I did when I was younger, grumbling against the cold as if it would go away upon my filed complaint? Now I willingly head to the cedar chest and unpack what I know I will need (by the way, I’ve learned that I play much better golf in the cold when I wear gloves between shots to keep my hands warm—a no-brainer trick that took my brain too many years to realize!).

Paul foresaw winter—the weathery kind—coming in the weeks ahead in his life, which had waned to those years when you first feel the cold filling the crevices of your joints. And the apostle knew a most excellent defense was the companionship of a proven friend, one younger and equipped to help him keep his spirits up.

Will we take this same view? We should. The companionship of God-loving friends is crucial in tough times, whether or not storm clouds fill the literal sky. Oh, the enemy will tell you that no one wants to hear your troubles or that you should be strong enough to punch through this on your own. Don’t believe it! Has winter come into your life? Do you see its cold gut-kick coming soon? Call a friend, even more than one. “Gather the troops,” if you will, and praise the Lord together. Paul sang with Silas in the dank of the city jail, when all looked lost. Let us find friends to sing with too, especially when the days are darkening!

Jeff Hopper

November 7, 2011

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