I rediscovered a sanctuary today—a winter sanctuary. It’s called a conservatory. This is basically a greenhouse that’s a lot prettier. The one I go to is at a public garden nearby, and consists of two fairly large rooms full of windows, flowers, tropical trees, and fountains. But remember, it’s still winter, which makes it even better. Outside, it might be snowing and 25 degrees. But inside, it’s a delightful 60 to 70 degrees, full of life and the smells of paradise.
Today I dropped in during my lunch break. The sunshine streamed through the glass roof and walls, and I found a corner bench to take in the warmth and bursts of color all around; to inhale the fresh scent of flowers, and hear the fountain splashing over rocks. I could pretend it was Spring. I wanted to stay there forever—or at least until Spring—but responsibility called, so I had to open the door back to the freezing world outside and all the other realities of winter.
But as I was soaking in the rays and pure oxygen, something occurred to me. This is a picture of how we can endure the harsh seasons of life—those times when we feel like giving up (see the last devotional). It’s nice to say, “Hang in there! Stay in the fight! Don’t quit!” But sometimes that just doesn’t seem practical, no matter how much we would like to. After all, many trees are bare and appear lifeless in the winter. Most flowers die, and bulbs wait silently in the ground. Even animals go into hibernation (and a lot of humans too). But there in the conservatory, life—everlasting, abundant life—is possible, even in the winter.
Jesus is our conservatory. Jesus makes abundant life possible on the inside even when it seems all is falling apart on the outside. When life is a desert, He is the Living Water springing up from within. He is our Shelter and Refuge. (If you need more reminders of who He is, read Psalm 91.) When we dwell in Him by focusing on everything that He is; when we ask for Him to be our shelter; when we put our faith in the Promises He’s given us in Scripture, and when they seem unbelievable, we ask for help to believe—we will survive the winter. And not only survive, we will flourish. Others around us will see this supernatural life, and find hope and faith to believe in their own winters.
So it comes down to this: to stay in the game, don’t try to fight to conquer your feelings. You’ll never win. Fight for time with Jesus, time in the word, and time praying with others. He will take on the winter feelings for you, and produce life in you. Because Jesus is our conservatory.
*Twice a month, we send out a short devotional to our volunteers. This was written by Andrea Keele, and sent on Feb. 17, 2015.