There's something about bow hunting in the dead of winter. It brings together the most difficult circumstances a hunter can face. The temperatures come in the teens, the wind can cut through the thickest clothes, and the snow can make a normally short walk to the stand, a long and treacherous trek. The simple, but difficult goal after that, is simply seeing if one can get within bow range of a deer, which is usually thirty to forty yards. With all these great conditions, what's not to like? Sometimes, I like hunting this way. To be honest, I liked it more when I was a bit younger. It was a test to me. A test of my preparation, endurance, and ability. Today, during those same conditions, I prefer a ground blind and a heater. And if the wind is favorable, my little Stanley thermos of coffee. I used to deliberately choose difficulty. Now, I deliberately choose comfort. Sometimes, however, no matter how bad I want comfort and try to plan for it, difficulty comes. And this is especially true during the winter. This season will always be more troublesome.
In the Christian life there are also times that are more difficult than others. They are the seasons of some of the harshest pains life can offer. They are the seasons of sacrifice, suffering and sorrow. They make normal activities difficult and complicated. It is the Christian winter. But it is in this winter that I am compelled to look for new life. You see, winter is the season of faith. The trees are without leaves and the ground is covered with the death of the past. But it is under the surface of those leaves and that death, that we find the life for the days ahead. We may not be able to see it, but it is there - germinating, breaking free, and growing. In our winter times, we too are growing. God is using the hard things to teach us to trust him. We may not see him, but if we will look under the surface, we will find God at work, getting us ready for a new season of life. The weeks ahead are called the "dead of winter" because everything looks dead. Nothing, however, is dead. It is only waiting and trusting for the next season of life and growth. Your winter is the same. But new life is just around corner.