Cold. Dormant. Silenced. The earth lays in quiet, as it is purified by white. It’s winter.
For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’
likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour.
7 He [stops the labor] of every man,
that all men whom he made may know it.
8 Then the beasts go into their lairs,
and remain in their dens.
9 From its chamber comes the whirlwind,
and cold from the scattering winds.
10 By the breath of God ice is given,
and the broad waters are frozen fast.
11 He loads the thick cloud with moisture;
the clouds scatter his lightning.
12 They turn around and around by his guidance,
to accomplish all that he commands them
on the face of the habitable world.
13 Whether for correction or for his land
or for love, He causes it to happen.
We are in the depths of winter at Cornell. Situated in the middle of upstate New York, frigid weather has become an everyday aspect of life. Among the complaints, frozen faces, and rising heating bills, it is difficult to not daydream about warmer days.
And yet, as someone who has blessedly experienced all seasons of this area – the vibrant greens of summer, the whimsical oranges of fall, and the pink blossoms of spring – I stare at the campus scenery in awe of the natural change the Lord has once again performed.
The trees may by barren and brown, the horizon endlessly blanketed in snow, and water immobilized, but God is still displaying Himself. In the motionless meadows of white, He humbles our restless hearts. In the deep chill, in the cabin fever, the Lord stops us in our labor.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
Every place on earth experiences some form of winter. For some there may not be ice or sub-zero temperatures, but there is a time when nature appears to “pause.”
In the tundras of the North and the dry periods in the desert, there is a sense of waiting. The Lord has provided in the warm seasons in order to sustain us now. He is asking for us to be patient despite the blizzards.
Are we going to be content? Are we going to trust?
There is beauty around us. When a rare ray of sunshine strikes the wintry ground, the snow sparkles with a marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). In the silence of falling flakes, the Lord whispers His name (Matthew 10:27).
Though the cold may not be pleasant to our bodies, God is demonstrating His power for our souls.
If He has the ability to breathe out ice, cannot he also do the reverse? Cannot He thaw our cold hearts? Our frozen faith? Wash our sin as white as snow?
He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes. He casts forth His ice as fragments; Who can stand before His cold? He sends forth His word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow. Psalm 147:16-18
He does have that power. When Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, He cleansed our spirits like bright snow softly covering the worn ground.
“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
And if we wait out our winters in obedience – yes, even in this present winter – eventually more blessings will blossom.
Through prayerful waiting, our hearts and the hearts of those around us can thaw under the warm washing of His Spirit.
Winter calls us to humility – challenging us to believe that God can spring up new life from the most dismal of places.
And so He will. Just wait.