By Melissa McLaughlin
When Days are Cold
The air stung my cheeks as we trudged along that winter day. An overcast sky shadowed our steps. A hint of snow whispered in the wind.
We hiked this same trail just a few months earlier, our senses flooded with rich fall foliage, vivid colors and the scent of autumn leaves.
But today was different. Dead. Cold. Drab. Dull. Lifeless.
A glimpse of the world at large in some ways.
Jesus is Close
Suddenly, from the corner of my eye something stirred. I peered through the trees as a small flock of geese paddled gently upstream in the icy waters of a nearby creek. Somehow, this simple sign of life touched my heart.
My view now skipped from glory to glory, taking in the marvel of God’s fingerprints all around. Stripped of lush leaves, the bare woodlands yielded a more subtle splendor.
Wispy grasses woven in wondrous patterns, if only we have eyes to see. Majestic tree trunks towering in strength, formerly hidden by green growth in earlier months. The previously unnoticed stream trickled past, ordinarily blocked from view by overgrown leaves and brush.
The God of all creation is the God of all life. In His sovereign goodness, He orders the seasons. Spring seasons of new life. Summer seasons of steady growth. Fall seasons of abundant harvest.
And yes, winter seasons. Seasons when the days stretch on seemingly dark and dormant.
Yet in those cold, quiet moments, sometimes we can hear the still, small voice of God with new clarity. The nights are longer, the days darker. We hunker down.
The hubbub of warmer days is silenced. These are days for drawing near to God. Beholding His beauty that can be overshadowed in busy times.
When days are cold, when the view is stark, when life is stripped of its outward appearance, Jesus is close.
He longs for us to see His glory anew in His living Word. Let us pause and soak in the Bible, seeking the warmth of His Light and truth.
He delights when we see God’s hand at work in His creation. The universe He created and upholds with the breath of His mouth is filled with the glory of God and never ceases to amaze. No matter the season.
He invites us to rest in prayer and listen for the prompting of His indwelling Spirit. For He calls us out of darkness into His marvelous Light. He sings over us with joy.
No matter the season, no matter how bleak or empty the scene before our eyes, Lord, give us new vision!
For we know, when days are cold, Jesus is close.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. Psalm 145:18
He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Mark 4:39
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms; if that were not so, I would have told you, because I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will take you to Myself, so that where I am, there you also will be. John 14:1-3 NAS
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:13
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
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I pray to draw nearer to Christ in the new year. Wishing you and your family a happy new year Melissa. God bless
Thank you, dear Yvonne! There is no more beautiful prayer I could ask for, than to draw nearer to Christ. I pray the same for you. God bless you and your family in the new year!
The parting of the leaves reveals the strength of the tree underneath.
Such a simple, yet profound truth. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts, Tom!
I agree! We have had some 15 to 40 mph winds here and snow, and when I’m outside with the 2 puppies, I have been blessed with Jesus showing up in little things. He is so good, we just need to be aware enough to look for Him. May God’s blessings chase you down and overtake you in 2022!
Wow, now that is a cold day! But yes, Jesus is with us when we are physically and spiritually cold. May the Light of the world, light up your heart and bless your family in the new year!
Then I guess I won’t tell you it is 19 below zero right now, but the sun is shining and making little diamonds on the snow! Beautiful! May God’s blessings chase you and your family down and overtake you in 2022! Love you sister!
Ohhhh my! Now that’s a cold day! May you see God’s beauty through it all. Love you sister!
Amen. Jesus is with us always. Happy New Year!
Such a wonderful promise. He is with us to the end of the age. Happy New Year to you and yours!
Melissa, This. Is. So. Beautiful. Reading your words and thoughts resounded deep in my soul. You have a gift as a wordsmith. I pray my perspective always changes from glory to glory. A thousand Hallelujahs!
Karen, thank you for these heartfelt words of encouragement! You are a supportive friend and sister in Christ. I pray with you, may my perspective always change from glory to glory! A beautiful prayer to carry into the New Year!
In contrast to the chaos and mayhem of humanity, it’s so calming to watch wildlife go about their daily routines without a care in the world. Such a great reminder that God longs to give us, His children, this kind of peace as we hide ourselves in Him. Thank you for sharing. 💜
I agree, Dee! God’s creation and wildlife give us a glimpse of His sovereign care over all. As you said, may we hide ourselves in Him, for He is the Prince of peace. Thank you for reading and sharing your insights!
I love this message. And the images are wonderful too!
Thank you, Nancy! Blessings to you and yours in the new year! He is with us always.
Beautiful and touching words. Yes. We serve a God who is always near. Happy New Year.
Thank you for reading and offering such a kind word, Rose. Immanuel, God with us. He gives us a deep and wonderful promise. God bless you and your family in the new year!
Blessed and refreshed by these beautiful lines. And I am reading this a few hours after I recommended Creation Care, God’s Earth is Sacred, the Oxford Handbook of Ecology and Religion, Living with other Creatures, etc. for the Ecotheology papers of some students.
Keep writing. Written words are powerful tools for God’s glory. They meet the readers at their convenient time. They go farther than we can ever imagine.
Wishing you a very happy and fruitful New Year.
Thank you, Selie Visa. All glory to God, who makes all things and in Christ makes all things new! I am humbled and encouraged by your words. I appreciate your kind support.
God weaves moments together so miraculously. To think, before reading, you had just recommended theology resources to your students that highlight the glory of God displayed in His creation. May the Lord continue to bless your work, writing and life to shine ever more for Christ and His kingdom.
I miss the black lace along the horizon when the trees’ leaves have all fallen and the sun sets, revealing the outline of the trees, stripped of their finery and just as beautiful black against the sky as they were when orange against the blue sky. I miss the early darkness that granted permission for us to stay at home and rest, to sit by the fire and savor a book. I miss the snowy days that also have us permission to stay at home, to play in our yard building a snowman or to sit inside reading a book. Now that we’re in the South, these are all lost, and I miss these unique beautiful moments of winter.
Such a beautiful and touching remembrance, Melinda! Truly, God paints His glory in every moment, if only we have eyes to see. May He show you new scenes of wonder there in the South. God bless you and yours!