Vintage seed catalogues from the 1890s.

When winter still has us in its icy grip, it’s hard to imagine that it will ever let us go. There seems to be no end to the frigid temperatures and snowstorms, and it can really get a person down.

What can we do to give us hope during a bleak, cold winter?

A favourite thing that gardeners do is to curl up indoors with some seed catalogues. They read about the promise of future luxuriant flower gardens and abundant crops of vegetables. It lifts their spirits and helps them hold on until spring comes.

Let me show you what I mean:

When it’s so cold out that neither your car nor your kids want to get going in the mornings, isn’t it nice to feast on a promise in a seed catalogue about a plant that germinates super-fast and with no prodding on your part?

When you’ve spend 20 minutes struggling to get your 4-year-old into his snowsuit, boots, scarf, hat and mittens, and only then does he announce that he has to go to the bathroom, you long for something that’s trouble-free. It sure cheers you up to read about a flower you can grow that’s so low-maintenance that it practically grows itself.

When your nose is running from a cold, your hair and skin are suffering from the dry winter air, and your lips are chapped, gardeners take heart from reading about the exuberant, heat-loving, vividly coloured flowers they’ll soon be enjoying come summer.

When there are icicles hanging from your eavestroughs (and from the tip of your nose), you’ll be encouraged by photos in seed catalogues of the trailing flowers you can grow that are perfect for hanging baskets.

When you’re going through hard times, isn’t it heartening to read about the promises of good things to come? But as uplifting as reading seed catalogues can be, how much more hope can we get from the promises of God found in the Bible?

Encouraging words from the Psalms
Photo by Tito and Eva Marie Balangue on Flickr CC BY-2.0

God’s promises give you hope that the difficult times won’t last, and that there are blessings in your future. Try some of these on for size:

When you’re worried about your finances, read Psalm 23:1:

“The Lord is my shepherd: I will always have everything I need.”

And how about Psalm 37:25?

“I have been young, and now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, or his children begging for bread.”

When you’re troubled by world events and fearful for the future, rest in this verse from John 14:27:

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

When you feel that nothing about your circumstances makes sense, and you don’t see how any good can come from your trials, be encouraged by Romans 8:28:

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

When you feel like you’re all alone, take heart from Hebrews 13:5:

“…God has said, ‘I will never leave you and I will never forsake you.’ ”

It’s estimated that there are thousands of promises in the Bible. No matter what you’re going through, there are bound to be ones that apply to your specific situation.

Here’s one that can give hope to all of us:

“ ‘For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’ ” (Jeremiah 29:11)

When times are tough, curl up with the Bible and hold on to the promises of God!

© 2020 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.

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