“While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22, NASB).
As much as we would love to have springtime last all year, this is not God’s plan.
Much of the United States has been slammed hard with winter storms, whether snow, ice, sleet, or as the weather anchors euphemistically put it, “a wintry mix.”
Most of us in Middle Tennessee had been housebound for a few days last week, with a gloriously beautiful but tragically deadly ice storm.
Many lost power, others were seriously injured in sledding accidents, and a mother and her ten-year-old son were hit and killed by a truck while trying to help a stranded motorist.
This leads us to ask, “What good is winter?” Well, we might be better off asking that question about mosquitoes, but that’s a subject for another day.
In the plant world, the winter cold is beneficial in many respects.
Many seeds are not able to sprout without “cold stratification.” The freezing of the seed’s outer shell and subsequent thawing help the germ inside to escape its captivity to realize its full potential as a sprout.
Multiple freezes and thawings with their accompanying moisture removes the chemicals that naturally inhibit germination, so that the seed can break its dormancy at the right time. For some seeds, they do best when they experience this naturally occurring warm and cold cycling before they finally get warm enough to break out of the seed case.
Some fruiting trees such as apples do better in colder regions where winter holds sway in its icy splendor for several months. Warmer climates tend to slow the flowers, to the point that pollination is not as effective and the late frosts ruin the early buds.
Cold can also be refreshing.
“Like cold water to a weary soul,
So is good news from a distant land” (Proverbs 25:25).
Good news can come in other forms as well. What better or more refreshing news is there than the Good News of the gospel?
“Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest
Is a faithful messenger to those who send him,
For he refreshes the soul of his masters” (Proverbs 2513).
After the heat of summer, doing the hard work of harvesting is better done in relatively cool weather. Last week’s ice storm was more than cool. But the thick coat of ice on everything turned the landscape into a winter wonderland!
Seeing the curly willows sparkling in the sunlight afterward, I could have spun a fanciful yarn about losing my diamond off my favorite ring there in the garden, and growing a diamond tree! It took my breath away with its brilliant majesty.
We must not ignore the dangers of the cold while we revel in its more dazzling qualities, however. Beware that we do not turn cold against the love of God and the love of truth. The scriptures warned against this during the time leading up to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, but it applies to us today;
“Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12).
May the Lord of all seasons warm your heart and kindle your love for him all year long!