It is cold and I am whiny about the cold.
It’s the the kind of wet and gray cold that seeps into your bones and leaves you chilly despite fuzzy socks, layers of clothing, soft blankets, and hot tea.
Maybe it’s less about the thermometer and more about the bitterness of the wind and the colorless sky that’s convinced me to abandon my afternoon walk and retreat inside.
There are certainly people and places a whole lot colder than I am. Our temps outside haven’t even dipped below freezing and we’ve not seen any snow. So I know there’s nothing really to complain about and I know that winter has barely started here and that colder days are still to come.
This week, though, as this Virginia girl has felt a little overwhelmed by winter, I received my first seed catalogue from our local nursery.
Spring, my friends, is coming.
This is my favorite and most necessary reminder each year in January. The bulbs will begin shooting green up through the soil soon. Tulips and daffodils will bloom in just a few weeks. There will be color and sun and warmth and the best of all, new and renewed life.
On Sunday, I chatted with a friend about our concerns for kids and teens during this pandemic and how many teens we personally know who have begun taking medication for depression. We mourned all this has cost them and how many of them are beginning to feel hopeless.
I told her the same thing I’ve been saying to my kids for about ten months, “we’ll be okay.” All this is temporary sorrow and temporary loss. We mourn, but we rest in God’s faithfulness and pray for those around us fighting much harder situations.
The truth is, though, this temporary sure is lasting a long time.
In fact, ten months of temporary is starting to feel rather permanent.
For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal(2 Cor 4:17-18 CSB)
Maybe one of the transformations happening in me in this long stretch of temporary and this seemingly endless “momentary light affliction” is that this life feels less satisfying and more uncomfortable.
It’s hard to long for the eternal weight of glory when life down here feels pretty cozy and when the joys of this life satisfy all of the longings in my soul.
But we’re meant to long for more than that.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.Ecclesiastes 3:11 NKJV
All of this winter discontent and frustration with temporary affliction is stirring up the eternity God has placed in my heart. I want to see His beautiful finished work. I want to see His glory and the fulfillment of His promises.
I want to hear His declaration, “It is finished” and see how He is making everything new.
And this longing for eternity is God-designed so that I’m drawn to Him and so that I seek His presence continually and relentlessly.
It’s a sacred and holy restlessness, a discontent because nothing here can ever satisfy and I can truly only be content in Him.
In the same way, the knowledge that spring is promised and assured compels us to push through winter. This cold dormancy and this grayness will not last forever, so we don’t settle here.
Instead, we look beyond because God will bring us to something far more beautiful and glory-filled than we could imagine.
Here, though, in the middle of this long stretch of temporary, this “momentary light affliction,” in this cold, gray winter, I do something more than look forward to the better that’s coming.
The Psalmist wrote:
Be a rock of refuge for me,Psalm 71:3 CSB
where I can always go.
Give the command to save me,
for you are my rock and fortress.
Our afflictions are tempory, but our God is constant. He is faithful. He does not abandon us in the middle of sorrow.
He is a rock of refuge “where I can always go.” So, even when the temporary drags on and deliverance delays….I go over and over, relentlessly, continually, regularly, day-in and day-out, minute-by-minute straight to Jesus and take refuge in Him.