Setting the Buds

  • By Dr. Don Martin
  • Senior Pastor
  • February 27, 2015
I don't like winter, and the weather of late is the reason why. You can't play golf with snow on the ground and an icy rain falling from the sky. Hunting season is in the rear view mirror, along with college football and Christmas. The excitement of a new year is behind us, and I stopped writing 2014 on checks a month ago. I'm guessing the same applies to people who live for indoor activities like line dancing and going to the movies and good fun that happens under a roof. I'd go absolutely stir crazy if not for the birds that come to the suet and seed waiting for them on the deck, along with spending time at the occasional fireplace of dear friends. I always think of Jerry Pless when winter wears on my emotions. He had a wonderful peach orchard in Clermont. I've enjoyed many a cobbler that salutes his labor of love. "Winter is good for the peach trees," he would say. "It sets the buds." He taught me that a peach tree must have a certain number of cold days to produce blossom in the spring and fruit in the summer. "No cold-no cobbler," was his response to my whining. The same is true of life in the here and now. Suffering and sorrow and disappointment and pain and death are part and parcel of life for all of us. They are not signs that God has abandoned us or that we are paying for our sins -- as if that were even possible. Jesus experienced suffering, though he was without sin and he knew God's presence until his dying breath. These cold and wintry days are not without value. They season us. They are meant to strengthen us, to humble us, and to wake us up to our need for God and our need for each other. God does not send them to us out of meanness or wrath. They just come on the plate with the many blessings we enjoy. Some folk get bitter and develop a sour attitude that seeps into every moment. They get mad at the Almighty or blame others for their dilemma. They travel a path that leads to an island of frustration and loneliness. People who are deeply spiritual trust God through the hard times, confident that underneath them are the everlasting arms. They reap a harvest of friendships and learn that trouble knocks on every door in the neighborhood. They live in hope knowing that the future belongs to God, who remains the author of spring.