There are some things we can learn about God only in winter. Not the frigid season we’ve been enduring the past months, but the seasons in life when we experience sorrow and loss.
The pain of losing someone we love is almost too much to bear. But, there can be another kind of grieving we experience that almost seems like a death, when we lose the one who continues to remain with us. There are many ways we suffer loss . . . divorce, separation from a prodigal, or the fading away from illness or dementia.
I was experiencing a personal season of crisis during the time I was serving as mentor for a young mom’s group. I learned so much from these ladies while leading a Bible study on friendship using the example of of Naomi and Ruth.
Naomi’s life was a collection of tragedies. A winter woman. She lost her joy when she lost her husband and two sons. Her name meant joy but after losing her family, she became embittered and asked to be called Mara, meaning bitterness. Famine caused the time of absence, and when she returned to her Bethlehem birthplace, even her friends didn’t recognize her.
Breadless and bitter, her countenance had changed.
The loving lesson inside this story is how we can allow circumstances to dominate our identity.
Naomi questioned if God abandoned her in the darkness, yet He provided a precious daughter-in-law. Recorded in her redeeming story in the book of Ruth is the well known pledge to the elder widow, where you go I will go, your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. (1:16)
Naomi was too old to labor for herself and had to depend on another for the basics of life. Ruth gleaned and gathered to feed her mother-in-law and herself. Provision.
There is value in grieving when there is not loss of hope along with the loss. It’s a gift to realize grief and praise do not have to contradict one another.
If we can be patient with the process of the season turning from snowdrifts to blossoms, we can rest in the beauty that faithfully arrives.
Grief may be the winter of life, but we can rejoice in the hope of spring. Remember, winter always ends and springtime always follows!
Naomi didn’t remain a winter woman because Jehovah revealed Himself as Restorer. This older, wiser woman coached the younger woman in the customs of the land and Ruth married again, eventually giving Naomi a restored family. A little grandson to fill her empty lap . . . baby Obed, the royal line to King David and King Jesus.
God has used His dear daughters often to get me through my winters . . .
If you are a winter woman today, there is tomorrow.
For behold winter is past. The rain is over. The flowers appear on earth. The time of singing has come. Solomon 2:11,12