A Touch of Summer in Winter

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.” (2 Corinthians 2:14 NIV)

It is early December [as I write this]. The aromas of fresh pine boughs, sugars and spices often fill our homes. Those of us who live with physical challenges pray for the energy to experience seasonal joys while hoping to balance other aspects of our daily lives.

Today, the side effects of a new medication left me dizzy and off balance. This happened last week too, but gratefully eased out over a few days. I persevered and went out for a walk and for exercise. Our weather here in western Washington allowed for this. Faith and my friendly cane accompanied me.

My route took me past one house with a white picket fence. In summer, hollyhocks and sweet peas abounded in this setting. This cold day, I noticed that the hollyhocks had been cut back. Much to my amazement, I discovered three sweet pea blooms that continued to hang on their vines. I sniffed, but the literal fragrance of the blooms had gone, although their form and tenacity remained.

In these moments, I sensed the Lord give me some understanding – that my efforts to hang on had not gone unnoticed. He saw me clinging to him as my Vine, desiring to flourish even if the elements around me were harsher. Those persistent sweet pea blooms had probably drunk deeply from the nourishment of their vines during better sunny days. How much more then can I, who now live in the garden of God’s love and care, continue to trust his nurture if I but remember to cling to him?

Prayer: Lord, help me persevere. During those moments that can overwhelm me with despair, lead me to the fragrance that is you. Let me breathe deeply to inhale trust, hope, faith and steadfastness that will keep me nourished in all seasons. Amen.

Lynn Severance is a retired elementary classroom teacher. She lives in Lynnwood, Washington. She writes to encourage others as God has encouraged her during 26 years of living with daily physical challenges.