I've always known in the core of my being that there is something exceedingly beautiful in the hard days. I think back to countless seasons of my life when I was driven to my knees by my desperate need for God and can't help but admit that they were some of the best days I lived.
Life is a rotation of seasons with no weather patterns to determine when it's time for another. Instead our seasons are gently guided by the hand of One who knows when we need snow or sunshine.
We all love the times of spring in our life. We love the new buds-- signs of life springing forth again. We love the sunshine and grass greening the hills. There's something fresh and happy about the world awakening again-- about the days when our own heart feels like it is bursting with new life.
Next comes summer and we revel in the harvest of dreams planted in the spring. Light lasts long and evening air is filled with laughter and family. We smile because life smiles on us. We realize how blessed we are and songs erupt to the Giver.
But what about when the leaves begin to fall and the cold blasts blow? What about when the freezing rain falls and abandons the world to be an icy wilderness? What about when grass dies and forests are skeletons of what once was?
All the world rejoices over the beauty of spring and the harvest of summer. It takes no eye of faith to see the glory.
Most of the world, though, sinks into despair in the lonely blasts of winter. When hopes and dreams become frozen corpses, songs are silenced.
I think back to a man who had lived in perpetual summer. His life had been a harvest of all the love he had poured into the people around him. He was blessed with family, health, wealth, and happiness.
Until one dark day. A messenger burst into his house to inform him that much of his treasure was gone. Before he had chance to compute, another messenger came with a similar message.
And another. And another.
Winter had descended fast.
He'd been stripped of everything-- like a tree bare of it's leaves-- standing alone in a snowstorm.
He didn't give up though. Somehow he had eyes to see beauty in the winter. His simple prayer sinks into me... The Lord hath given and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
There were no conditions to this man's love for his Friend. It didn't have to be spring for him to sing praises. He could trust in the depths of winter.
Sometimes though, we act as if our love is dependent on whether or not the sun is shining. I have to wonder… is that really love? Maybe real love is a loyalty that will praise loudest when the sky is darkest.
We give God praise when He gives us what we want... But if not, what then?
I whisper prayers under dark skies and I am struck by the fact that the stars shine brightest on the darkest night.
I realize it all over again-- the hard days really are the good days. The times that God says no are sometimes even more precious than the times He says yes.
Winter does indeed have it's own beauty. The cold that freezes all life may actually be the very force needed to strip the earth of aging beauty so that new life can grow.
The times that God says no may be the very seasons we need so that our hearts can be stripped and made beautiful by new growth.
We promise God that we will love Him if He gives us everlasting summer but today I let the question sink in...
And if not?
What then? Will I sing praise in the cold of winter? Will my love burn brighter because of the darkness around me?
He may grant that winter fades into spring.
And if not, He is still good.