The mid-winter blues, many people suffer from it. January is one of our least favorite months because of the cold, snow and dreary landscapes as the trees are nothing more than bare sticks. My wife and I took a drive last weekend and the scenery, which should have been beautiful, was dreary and bleak. It was a little sad. There’s even a song about this time of year, “In The Bleak Mid-Winter.” It’s mournful even though the lyrics are hopeful.
Right now, the snow is falling and the landscape is beautifully white. That won’t last for very long, though, as it will soon melt.
There’s a scientific reason people have the blues during this time of year. The lack of sunlight depletes people’s vitamin D causing those blah feelings and even depression in some. Sunlight brings hope and revives our system by helping us generate vitamin D which increases our energy and increases our hopefulness.
Now, I could, at this point, say that the Sonlight of Jesus drives all that away but that wouldn’t be completely true. I do believe, with my whole heart, that Jesus brings peace and joy. That being said, the bleakness of life sometimes causes us to feel down and depressed. Sometimes the culprit is Seasonal Affective Disorder, the syndrome caused by the diminished sunlight in the winter. Sometimes it’s our life conditions which cause those feelings of sadness, depression, and doubt.
Life is not going to be all sunshine and rainbows. It can be tough, really tough.
Jesus told us to “take up your cross and follow me” not “smell the roses and skip childishly through the meadow.” Life is challenging and God does not remove those challenges nor does He keep all bad things from happening to us. We would be sheltered and immature if we never had to face any difficulties. Was Jesus’ life easy? Did God remove all the difficulties from His life? Of course not. He endured opposition, threats to His life, the rejection of His family, rejection by His followers, attacks by Satan, and death on a cross. Not all peaches and cream, was it? If we are to be His followers, can we expect any different?
The word Christian means “like Christ.” We are to be like Him in our characters but also in our suffering. Because He suffered, we will also.
God does, however, give us strength to face our challenges. God provides a strength that helps us overcome any adversity without giving in to despair. Even the most difficult, tragic circumstance can be handled with the power God gives us. Growth and maturity will occur as wisdom increases by the power God provides.
I was ordained into the ministry in 1986, 30 years ago this July. In those 30 years I’ve seen the power of God at work in people’s lives during their most difficult hours. God has shown me His strength as I’ve watched people undergo enormous challenges with hope and strength that only He can provide. Their experiences weren’t easy but God showed that He can provide the power to overcome relationship problems, financial difficulties, hardships as parents, abuse, addiction, tragic deaths, and diseases. No, they weren’t all rescued or healed from these challenges but they were given the strength to overcome and to help others experiencing the same hurdles.
The bleak mid-winter can be challenging but the power of God helps us face it with confidence and with hope.
Rob Morton is minister of First Christian Church Middlesboro. Contact him at [email protected]