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Invincible summer within

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer. 
(Albert Camus)

Winter is just about over for most of us in the states, but there is this lingering little bit of a visit now and again from the chilly north that brings just a hint of winter's snow and cold. As Spring blossoms into full bloom some places, others are still thawing. What is the purpose of winter? Isn't it a time of dormancy - when the living plants take leave of growth for just a while and endure the frosts and winter winds as they beat against them? It almost looks like death has come to what once was alive and thriving, but then suddenly we find wonder one spring morn when we note the tiny green growth once again emerge from the barren branch or spring forth from the frosted ground below. What appeared to have been lost to the winter shows signs of being stronger than ever!

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 2:1-4 NLT)

What seems lost suddenly gives evidence there has been no loss, but rather greater strength and mightier endurance! This is the way of winter - giving way to the season of springtime growth and rich development. In our own lives, there are definitely times when the 'frosts' of despair and fear seem to chill us to the bone. The moments of challenge just pummel us with icy crystal after icy crystal, until one day we appear to be devoid of all signs of growth. But then...under the warmth of the Son's light, something from within spring forth giving evidence that all is not lost! As Camus said, the depths of winter give rise to the awareness of the eternal summer within! There is nothing going to destroy what God tends - even in the times when there aren't signs of growth, his hand is still at work! 

It is in those seasons of challenge where we see our faith tested and our endurance getting the chance to grow. Think about it for just a moment. If all of life was the intensity of summer, would we really be as strong as we could be? I don't know about you, but I need the down-times of winter to regroup for the "heat" and "intensity" of summer! It may not be easy to endure the "coolness" of winter seasons within our hearts and spirits, but God gives us everything we need to emerge from the "chill" of those seasons refreshed and ready for the intensity of the hot summer months ahead!

Have you also noticed that each springtime brings just a little different growth in the garden, or to that tree? New branches emerge from places where no branches were in the past. New buds become evident behind those green leaves of the flowering plants. New blades of rich green grass spring up where brown, trodden down blades once stood. The growth looks "similar" to what once was, but it is totally different! The seasons of winter might just be placed in our lives to help us not become focused so much on what we are, but to help us discover what we can become as we emerge from the other side of winter just a little different and more vibrant than we were when we entered into that season! Just sayin!

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