Winter casts a cold shadow. The days are short. The nights are long. The sun seems shy, hidden behind the grayness. Warmth has packed her bags and migrated to the tropics. Beach weather would be nice.
But that’s not going to happen. It’s winter.
Spring will see blossoms. Summer sways leafy bushes in the wind. Autumn gives forth a harvest of plenty. But winter? Winter is still, deathly still. Fields are frosty. Trees extend skeletal limbs. Wildlife is silent. Gone.
Winter brings danger. Blizzards. Ice storms. Caution is the theme. Come springtime you’ll run barefoot through the meadow and plunge into the pond. But now? It’s best to button up, zip up, stay in, and stay safe.
It’s winter out there.
Is it winter where you are? Are you trapped in a perpetual gloom? Do you know the solstice of sunless days and barren trees?
I know a mom who does. A mom of three kids. Two in diapers and one with a disability. Her apartment is small. Her income is meager. And her husband is AWOL. Life in Camp Chaos was too much for him. It’s too much for her as well. But what choice does she have? Somebody always needs to be fed, changed, held, or bathed. So she does whatever needs doing, and it appears she will be doing it forever. She wonders if this winter will ever pass.
So does my friend Ed. He and I have much in common. Our health is good. Our golf game is poor. We both like dogs. We both have marriages that predate the Carter administration. The difference? My wife just asked me what I want for dinner. His keeps asking him who he is. He placed her in a memory-care facility a year ago. They’d dreamed of touring the country in an RV. So far he’s spent his retirement sleeping alone and making daily visits to a woman who stares out the window.
Can you relate? When did you first realize that life was not going to turn out the way you thought?
Your parents divorced.
Your spouse cheated.
Your health never recovered.
Your friend never returned.
In that moment a Siberian cold settled over your life. Your world became an arctic circle of dark days, long nights, and bitter weather.
This book was born in winter. As I pen these words, every person on the planet is living in the frostnip of COVID-19. A pandemic has locked us down. The mom I told you about? Her income is meager because her restaurant job was discontinued. Ed can still see his wife but only through a window. Church doors are closed. Students are stuck at home. Masks hide smiles. A microscopic virus has paralyzed us.
And an ancient sin threatens to undo us. Those of us who’d hoped racism was fading were convinced otherwise. An officer’s knee on the neck of a Black man activated a subterranean anger. A volcano spewed into the streets of many cities.
The entire world seems wrapped in winter. We are all searching for springtime.
Winters are a part of life—some personal, some global—but all are powerful. Try as we might to bundle up and lean into the wind, the heartiest among us can fall. The wind is too strong. Nights are too long, and the question is all too common: Will this winter ever pass? You wonder (don’t you wonder?) if you will survive this.
If so, God has a six-letter word of encouragement for you: E-S-T-H-E-R.
Max Lucado, You Were Made for This Moment: Courage for Today and Hope for Tomorrow (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2021), 2–5.
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