Hannah’s grandfather in western New York in Nov. 2022

It feels to me (Hannah) like there has been enough snow and storm and cold for us to have earned our Spring already, but it turns out today is actually the first day of Winter (a.k.a. the Winter Solstice/the darkest day of the year).

For example, the picture above is of my grandfather trying to snow-blow his driveway when a snowstorm hit western New York right before Thanksgiving this year. As you may notice, the snow is still falling in this picture, and as it turned out, unfortunately, a 24-hours and a foot-and-a-half later, he had to do it all over again!!!

Talk about fighting an uphill battle. Talk about wondering, “why in the world am I doing this?”

Trying to find an answer to this question must be a universal human experience. I’ve had to answer it. Many of my friends have had to answer it. And so did Jesus Himself.

In moments of grief, loneliness, betrayal, discouragement, pain, and failure,

When the snow piles higher and the world becomes increasingly secular,

When hearts are calloused and eyes are closed,

Through the darkest day of the year and darkest years of our lives,

We must ask ourselves, “what is this even worth?”

Here’s the answer Paul the apostle landed on:

“We do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.

For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

So what does that mean for you and me?

It means it’s okay to struggle. It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to be burdened beyond what we think we can bear. But we don’t have to despair. Because our “today” is not our “forever.” And while we may feel bruised and torn apart, while our flesh may waste away and our strength wane, He bolsters our hearts, renews our spirits, and gives us a snack-sized taste of what He had intended from the beginning and what He is preparing for our eternity.

We don’t battle against flesh and blood or snow and ice but against spiritual forces of evil and powers beyond what our eyes can see and fists can strike. So, praise the Lord for seeing us and remembering we are only dust. Praise the Lord for lending a hand and delivering us. Praise the Lord for inviting us to join in His victories even if all we can do is worship Him from the sidelines.

If you’re wondering how it ended for my grandfather… well… a friend came by with a Bobcat and quickly freed their entire driveway a couple of days later. This, of course, leads me to my final (and cheesiest) point: We may not have the equipment for the victory, but our God certainly does.

So, my friend, be faithful with what you have been given, labor with all of your strength, and do not lose heart when it feels like a losing battle. Do not despair, for “this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”