I’ve lived in Minnesota for almost eighteen years, and sometimes winter still surprises me. The harshness of the bitter cold, the sting of the wind, and the abundance of cloudy days can make it hard for even the hardiest Minnesotan to persevere. By late February, we wonder, Will winter ever end? Some seasons in life can feel like a harsh winter. Maybe you’ve invested in a relationship only to be rejected without explanation. Perhaps the financial provision that once flowed freely suddenly dried up. Or maybe you’re facing life without a loved one this year and can’t imagine a day without the ache of loss.
We all live with the reality that, eventually, winter is coming. As God designed it, we can’t live in the sunshine of summer forever or in the endless glow of an autumn night. One of Satan’s greatest ploys is convincing us that our winter seasons are unique and our situation hopeless. He knows the inevitable pit we plunge ourselves into if he can convince us.
But when we turn to Scripture, we see a pattern of God’s people facing hardship and struggle. Even King David knew what it was like to be in a season of winter with no hope in sight. After rebelling, David’s son Absalom sought to overthrow his kingdom, sending King David on the run, with his enemies multiplying by the day. But in that season of anguish, David knew where to turn and who to believe. In Psalm 3:3–5, he calls out to God, “But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill. I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.”
Persevere by Looking Up
When David looked up from the cave he found himself in, he saw the protection and provision of God, the source of his salvation and the one who transcended his circumstances. It’s tempting to drop my head when life is harsh and cold. But this only leads to discouragement, anxiety, and the temptation to be controlled by my circumstances. Looking up reminds me that I do not face hardship alone. I have a helper (Ps. 28:7), a guide (Ps. 48:14), a counselor (Ps. 16:7), a comforter (2 Cor. 1:3), and a friend in the Lord (John 15:14–15).
Embracing Minnesota winters has taught me the value of reframing my thinking. It’s easy to complain, but there is joy in choosing to see the good, like the vibrant sunrises and sunsets that winter’s cold air produces. Similarly, when I fix my eyes on Jesus rather than my circumstances, I see the one who has promised to be my help (Rom. 8:26), give strength in my weakness (Isa. 40:29), and complete the good work he began in me (Phil. 1:6). When I’m weary in life and in winter, I need only to call on God, the lifter of my head.
Persevere by Looking In
David also looked in and saw his need along with his insufficiency, then cried aloud to God, who answered and stilled his fear. Rather than striving in his own strength and wisdom, God gave him the guidance and perspective he needed to face another day. I often run from hard things because my flesh loves ease. But I only see in part what God sees in full. While I may long for an easier, more comfortable season, God knows what’s best, and he is always working in my life to make me more like him.
In winter, I can easily lose sight of what I know is true: eventually, spring will come. After endlessly cold days, the first, false signs of spring can trick me into relying only on what I see for hope. But God calls us to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7), and he reminded Solomon that every season has purpose and a timeframe (Ecc. 3:1–8). When I look in honestly, I acknowledge my insufficiency to face life on my own. This is God’s grace to me, because it frees me to rest in his sufficiency (2 Cor. 12:9). Rather than shouldering the weight alone, God graciously invites me to lean on his wisdom and to trust him with my life (Prov. 3:5–6). He is both my source of hope and my guide.
Persevere by Looking Out
Finally, David looked out and realized he could face another day of uncertainty because he did not face it alone and the God who sustained him never slumbers nor sleeps. God was with him, and David knew that he was safe in the faithfulness of God, steadied by the promises of God.
Perhaps the hardest thing about the winter is simply learning to face it when I’d rather stay inside or escape it. But God has patiently reminded me to look out, take the next step, look for joy, and keep living, even if I don’t know what’s ahead or why my winter hasn’t yet given way to spring. Prioritizing the Word of God (Isa. 66:2) and giving careful thought to it (Prov. 16:20) while learning to seek him and his will above my own (Jer. 29:13) gives me direction. Staying faithful in the little things and not giving up sows seeds that I’ll reap in another season by his grace (Gal. 6:9). His faithfulness working through his Holy Spirit in me helps me stay faithful and fills me with hope.
Don't Give Up
If you find yourself in a winter season, don't give up. Your landscape may look barren, but that doesn’t mean God isn’t working. He can’t be anything but faithful, and some of his best work is done in the hard, hidden places. Because he persevered all the way to the cross, with his help, we can persevere and even learn to embrace winter seasons as they come.
Meet the Author
Stephanie Armstrong lives in Waconia, Minnesota with her husband and four children. She serves alongside her husband as a pastor’s wife in addition to regularly teaching, speaking, and writing Bible studies for her local church. Her passion is for families to love God, to know his Word, and to effectively pass down a godly legacy from generation to generation. You can connect with her on Instagram @stepharmstrong.