When winter comes,…(In honor of my friends that held on for spring!)

Has ‘winter’ hit? “For the times, they are a changing” sings a song from years gone by, but the words ‘ring’ true today with great clarity. Change often comes like a ‘blast of winter!’ Has life suddenly been hit with ‘winter’… a time of darkness and cold? A time of silence and question? A time of challenge and hardship? Seasons change however! They come, and we must remember, seasons go. Winter does turns to spring. God does that. But first, we have to ‘get through the winter!’
Job was afflicted with winter, and his thoughts are recorded: “So I have been allotted months of futility, And wearisome nights have been appointed to me…” (Job 7:3). How do we get through the ‘winter?’ When ‘your soul clings to the dust’, God breathes in His word: “Revive me according to Your word.” (Psalm 119:25).

Stories revive us. God’s stories revive us. The stories declaring God’s work in other’s lives revive us! When winter comes and the motion and color of the world have been ‘knocked out of us’, God help us to ‘Fret Not,'( Psalm 37:1!) and help us to Be Still and read not just ‘a’ good book, but THE GOOD BOOK, and speak to one another Psalms and Hymns and spiritual songs that we might be revived even before the revival.

C.H. Spurgeon writes in his devotional, “Beside Still Waters”: The Battle is God’s – Receive a fresh assurance of God’s goodness, “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20:15).May the Holy Spirit bear witness to this sweet promise. May He strengthen and comfort you, and may you be delivered even before deliverance comes.”

I share a picture story – imagine 1887, a young woman who survived the Civil War as a teenager, who kept up her studies in school amidst great trial, who loved the Lord and made choices to please Him. This young woman was hired to teach in a school by the name of “the Northern Home for Friendless Children”(…what thoughts come to mind after reading a name like that?!)

So, one day, in this Northern Home for Friendless Children, Eliza E. Hewitt, age 35 at the time, was struck by an unruly student. A slate was slammed across her, severely injuring her back. In 1887, if you found yourself with a severe injury to the back, you were placed in a heavy cast for 6 months! Eliza was only 35 years old, yet she probably , in her long term immobility began to doubt she would even walk again! Can we say that Eliza was ‘hit’ with winter!

How do we get through WINTER? Well, needless to say, Eliza had no where to go. But instead of ‘fret’, it is evident that she devoted some of that time to Bible reading. How do I know? The story goes that after the cast was finally removed in early 1887, she was encouraged to take a short walk in the park. That very day, a hymn was penned by Eliza E. Hewitt called “Sunshine in My Soul”. Her winter had turned to spring:

“There is sunshine in my soul today, More glorious and bright Than glows in any earthly sky, for Jesus is my light.”
“Other’s sunshine, blessed sunshine, When the peaceful happy moments roll. When Jesus shows His smiling face, There is sunshine in my soul.”

“There is music in my soul today, A carol to my King; And Jesus, listening can hear The songs I cannot sing.”
“Other’s sunshine, blessed sunshine, When the peaceful happy moments roll. When Jesus shows his smiling face, There is sunshine in my soul.”

“There is springtime in my soul today, for when the Lord is near The dove of peace sings in my heart, The flow’rs of grace appear.”
“Other’s sunshine, blessed sunshine, When the peaceful happy moments roll. When Jesus shows his smiling face, There is sunshine in my soul.”

“There is gladness in my soul today, And hope and praise and love, for blessings which He gives me now, For joys ‘laid up’ above!”

I honor again, some friends who are no longer with us, but are an evident part of our lives even today. Changes came upon them suddenly, winter arrived in their lives like a harsh-cold blast. But ‘Fret not’ they heeded, as best they could trusting and waiting and hoping in God. Committing their way to the LORD, they did. And believing God’s word saying, “And He shall bring it to pass.”(Ps. 37:5).

Yes, I honor my friends for this is their witness: “Why are you downcast, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.” (Psalm 42:5).

I write to give honor to God and to make mention of these friends, because God called their names, personally, and they answered His call. And a tough winter came, but God was faithful to bring spring: God called and said, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, And come away.””Fo lo, the winter is past,…”
“The rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing has come…” (Song of Solomon 2:10-12).

I honor my friends by sharing Eliza’s hymn and story, because they lived lives that sang: “Other’s sunshine, blessed sunshine, When the peaceful happy moments roll. When Jesus shows His smiling face, There is sunshine in my soul.”

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Author: tonirypkema

Wife to 1, mother of 11, daughter of 1. "The most amazing woman in the world." -Jared (son)

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