Pepper Keeps Warm by the Fire

The Deep South is just emerging from an unusual deep freeze, and it’s been bitterly cold here in Atlanta for several weeks. Of course, I realize that when southerners talk about night time temperatures in the teens and daytime highs reaching the low thirties, many from more northern climates are understandably apt to snicker and maybe launch into a few stories about ‘how cold it is where I live.’ I get it. In fact, for some reason, Clif keeps a weekly check on the weather in Ely, Minnesota where he and the boys took a memorable canoe trip a few summers ago, so I do know that there are places where 30 degrees would be considered balmy. But that’s not the story in Georgia. Here, the deepest part of winter generally lasts about 5 weeks or so and then we’re back to shirt sleeve weather and watching the daffodils begin to push up through the ground by mid-February.

So yeah…. for us, it’s been cold and for the first time in many years we have a real winter (even with some snow!) I even had to go out and buy a heavy coat for Jason because the last time he needed one he was about 4 inches shorter!

This past weekend as I sat at our kitchen table warming my hands around a cup of hot tea, I gazed out the back window and took note of how lifeless the bare trees looked with their gnarly branches reaching toward the featureless gray sky.

But the longer I sat there, the more green I noticed. Not on the leafless limbs of the hardwoods, but instead on the boughs of the evergreen trees that stand nearby. Those trees were as healthy looking and enduring as if it was a pleasant spring day! The hostile temperatures hadn’t affected them at all as they continued to stand tall and unaffected by the cold.

Isn’t that a picture of how believers ought to be? Christians should to be the ones who stand out against the landscape of humanity when the “harsh weather” hits. I’m not saying that it’s easy to endure when the biting cold of pain, disappointment or hurt hits us. No one really likes going through hard times. But when the winds of adversity come (as they will), we ought not wither and lose our ‘leaves’ like people who don’t have a relationship with the One who holds the future in His hands.

When you feel down and discouraged about the cold realities that have blown into your life, don’t forget that, as a believer, this, as all seasons are, is only temporary. Even if things end up very differently than you hoped or desired, spring and its promise of new life (either here or in eternity) is still coming. That ought to change the way we respond to whatever comes our way because the truth is, others are watching our response and will judge the validity of our faith in God by what we say and do in the deepest part of ‘winter.’

So stand tall and let your confidence in God’s ultimate assurance of eternal life be a stalwart beacon that draws others toward the Savior before the fleeting mist of this temporary existence fades before the radiance of His return!

“…the Lord upholds the righteous.
The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care,
and their inheritance will endure forever.
In times of disaster they will not wither…”
Psalm 37:17-19



16 thoughts on “Evergreen

  1. I share your winter experience. I marvel at how God uses our winter times to create a stronger foundation of faith in our lives. I tweeted several of my favorite passages from your post today. Thanks for blessing us at the #LMMLinkup this past week.

  2. Thank you for your encouragement.This reminds me of Psalm 1
    Blessed is the man 1
    Who walks not in the counsel of the
    Nor stands in the path of
    Nor sits in the seat of the
    But his delight is in the law of the
    And in His law he meditates
    day and night.
    He shall be like a tree 3
    Planted by the rivers of water,
    That brings forth its fruit in its
    Whose leaf also shall not
    And whatever he does shall prosper.

  3. Standing firm, staying ‘green’, standing out- Yes! Where I ought to be. Of course, sometimes I lose my ground when I weaken because I am human. Thanks for this picture!

  4. Hello, Karen. This uprooted Georgia has been “up north” for over five decades, and my blood still hasn’t thickened up:) I love your phrase, “stand out against the landscape of humanity”. So true, and you’re right , sometimes that’s a challenge. Like you, I’ve learned overtime that the only permanency is God’s unfailing grace and love. Blessings for warmer days,

  5. I like this thought, that we need to remain green and faithful to God even in the harshest of winters! And you’re right that others are watching us. May we stay grounded in His Word, surrounding ourselves with the cloak of His love to keep warm come what may!

    1. It’s so easy to mistakenly judge what we think God is doing by our circumstances when the Word reminds us that He’s able to bring good out of the worst situation, but in His time and in His way. Thanks for commenting Ruth!

    1. Your comment reminds me of Psalm 92:13-15 — Those who trust in God will be “Planted in the house of the Lord, They will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and very green To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” Thanks Debbie

  6. Thank you, Karen for this beautiful reminder that no matter how hard life gets here on earth, heaven awaits those who are HIS! This is very timely for me as trials have come and they continue to remain, but recently God reminded me that HE is with me always and one Glorious Day all the griefs of life will be over and we’ll be with HIM for all eternity. God’s Will Be Done and somehow, someway ..may God’s ultimate glory be revealed!

    1. Life here on earth can be very trying and difficult, but only temporary. The true life is coming and will be without pain, sorrow and heartache! I agree. What a Glorious Say that will be!!

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