The Warmth of Winter (click to comment)


I don’t like cold weather. Not one bit. I love ice in my drinks, but incoming cold front are ugly words to me. Like your taxes were due Friday. One winter, when our children were young, thanks to a serious breach in climate change, the weatherman continued to deliver snowfall and bitterly cold temperatures. On a frigid Saturday afternoon, we decided to brighten the winter blues with a trip to our town’s indoor swimming pool. I pumped the kids up with anticipation of hot tubs and water-slides, only to see them deflated when we discovered that our car wouldn’t start. My eldest son was so mad he wanted to set the Ford on fire, something that would have provided us all a degree of satisfaction, and some warmth to boot. I thought of a wise friend’s words: “Some wait for the storm to pass, others dance in the rain.” Or in our case, the snow. And so I herded the troops back to the house and introduced them to something I called ‘Plan B.’

Grabbing a shovel and propping a ladder against the house, I climbed onto our gently-sloping roof and sent the heaviest snowfall in history cascading past our kitchen window. I have seldom felt more powerful. Before long we were leaping off a 12-foot roof into what looked like a giant homemade marshmallow. We hollered. We pelted each other with snowballs. We pretended to be sky-divers and Hollywood stunt-men. Afterwards, sitting around a darkened kitchen drinking hot chocolate thick, we all agreed: Plan B was better than Plan A. “I like winter best of all,” said Rachael. I was in full agreement. That afternoon, winter ceased being an obstacle and became an opportunity, and snow drifts became piles of powdery potential.

Life is like that, isn’t it? The snow falls. And we easily see obstacles in our way. But what if today’s obstacles are opportunities in disguise? Opportunities to grow, change and become something we never could have became before that cold front blew in. I love how the cartoon character Pogo put it, “Gentlemen, we are surrounded by insurmountable opportunities.” It reminds me of a man who faced the greatest obstacle ever and turned it into joy. Hebrews 12:2 tells us that for the joy that was set before Jesus, he endured the cross. Jesus came that we might have life, peace and unspeakable joy. But the worst came before the better.

Whatever you face today, I hope you’ll be encouraged by insurmountable opportunities ahead. Now I’d better go. Off into the cold. My wife is standing by to wrap me in 46 pounds of wool.

Want to read more from Phil?

3 min read

Rebuilding My Greenhouse

What can we learn in the storms of life I learned about weather when I was a kid. About cold…

3 min read

Simple Resolutions

My gratitude for answered prayer My New Year’s resolution last year was to eat an apple a day. So that…

2 min read

The Gospel According to Peanuts

What you missed in Charlie Brown’s Christmas special One of the most profound books my pastor father ever brought home…