Summary: When you are going through the winter of your soul you can do three things to make it through. 1. Fix your eyes on Jesus 2. Endure to the end 3. Think about the joy that is ahead
“The End of Winter”
When I was growing up in northern Minnesota, January and February were the coldest months of the year. February was the hardest month for most of us. Christmas was long past and too quickly forgotten. The New Year’s parties, with the laughter, had long since faded into oblivion. All that was left was the bitter cold and the weary darkness. The daylight hours seemed too short and the weather was too cold – leaving everyone shivering beside the old wood stoves.
As February wound down, thoughts of spring warmed the soul. In only a few weeks the weather would change. The sun would come out. The days would grow longer. The snow would melt; the lakes and rivers would thaw and spring break-up would take place. Soon the trees would bud out and begin to color the forest a happy green once again, instead of the depressing grey we endured all winter.
In just a few weeks, tiny yellow chicks would hatch and bunny rabbits would hop around. Colts and calves would frolic in the pasture. Beaver would begin to rebuild, otter and mink would play on the riverbanks, muskrats would swim aimlessly in the river, and the air would be perfumed by the wonderful smell of early spring lilacs. Have I ever told you that the smell of lilacs are my favorite smell?
But some people, around the end of February lost their vision of the future and were swallowed up in the darkness of the long winter. And some of them never made it to spring. They died of hopelessness and a lack of vision. Some took their own lives and some died of sickness or what they called old age. But the real culprit was a lack of hope.
When you are going through a long winter of your soul – you need hope. I don’t know what may cause the winter of the soul in your life and make life seem so hopeless and pointless – but I know the cure. Let me share it with you.
First, fix your eyes on the author and finisher of your faith, Jesus. The bible says,
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
When things seem most hopeless – it is most important to fix your eyes on Jesus. Have you ever thought about what it means to ‘fix’ your eyes on something? It means to ignore everything else and concentrate on that thing. That word probably came out of the Olympic Games of Paul’s day. When someone ran a marathon, after 5 or ten miles they would ‘hit the wall’. In other words, they would use up their energy and be exhausted. From that point on – it was more mental than physical. It wasn’t the physically strong that won – but the mentally strong. The winners would fix their eyes on the finish line and they would think about the prize waiting for them. Their legs would feel like lead. Their lungs would be burning like fire. Their mouths would be dry and their feet ached – but they would push on. They considered what was waiting for them at the end of the race – the joy of victory! They knew it would all be worth it.
It kind of reminds me of when I climbed Mount Shasta. I had climbed Mount Whitney and later climbed Mount Lassen and many lesser peaks – but climbing Mount Shasta was the most difficult. Part of it was that there was no trail and it was straight up on the snow and ice for 6 or 8 hours. Mostly it was because after a few hours of climbing straight up you ran out of energy. Only those determined to make it to the top did so. I fixed my eyes on the goal and climbed until I made it.
I think it is so important for us to fix our eyes on Jesus and think about Him. First of all, we need to think about how much He loves us. Jesus is FOR you – not against you. He is not a demanding task master – but a loving encourager who desires the very best for us. If He asks us to not do something – it will always be because that is best for us. If He asks us to DO something – it is because that will result in blessings to us.
When you think about Jesus you might recall the time His zeal for God’s house caused Him to make a whip of cords and drive the greedy money changers from the temple area. Or you may think of the time that John laid his head on Jesus’ shoulder at the Last Supper. It’s kind of perspective isn’t it? When you love Jesus and are striving to live a life pleasing to Him – the vision you get of Him is love. No one else may understand – but He does. No one else may care – but Jesus does. No one else may know – but Jesus sees. He saw the little widow lady put in her two coins when no one else did. He felt the burden of the lady with the issue of blood when no one else did. He sought out the man filled with a legion of demons when everyone else ran away from him or avoided him.