Winter must come if there is a spring

Published 8:21 am Friday, September 8, 2017

By Hunter Greene
As summer comes to a close and the days get colder and colder, I cringe at the thought of winter in just a few months. I’m not looking forward to wearing heavy coats and freezing as I walk to class. I will miss my summer tan, pathetic as it may be, as my skin tone resorts back to a shade of Casper the Ghost. I will miss being able to have picnics and grill-outs. I will miss soft grass and luscious, green trees. Everything that once seemed so alive and vibrant will become dead and cold. Whether I like it or not, leaves will change colors and fall to the cold, hard ground. Trees will stand naked, and birds will migrate. On those days when I can’t feel my fingers and toes and want nothing more than heat, I ask myself, “Why has God ordained such a harsh death on the earth?”
The answer is re-birth. Something must die for something else to be born. Beautiful flowers must lose their petals and wither away in order to come back bigger and better the next year. God has placed a cycle of life and death in the universe in order to get rid of the old and allow the new to have life. The cycle also applies to our lives. Although it can be a factor, I am not necessarily talking about physical death. Rather, I am referring to the death of our flesh and sinful passions. As Christians, we often live our spiritual lives only in the Summer months. We enjoy the days at the pool. We love our tans and days at the beach. We love the picnics and walks through the park. We are almost addicted to this care-free, joyous time of relaxation and fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
This causes a major obstacle in our growth process as disciples of Christ. Just like a plant, if our old leaves don’t fall off every once in a while then we will never grow to be stronger and healthier. When spiritual Winters do enter our life, we get mad at God for making us uncomfortable. We complain we don’t have enough sunshine. We never get enough water or nutrients. We never seem to understand why God would make us go through tribulations when we have been such great Christians attending church and reading our daily devotional. I find this attitude towards pain to be a misconception from Satan and our culture.
Let me share with you something I learned in my Greek class last week that completely changed my perspective on the Winters that we must endure. The ending of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:13 reads, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” We often pray for God to deliver us from all evil in the world. If you are like me, I see “evil” hurting Christians all the time. Just look at Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma as they tear apart houses and take lives. Look at the racism we still have in this country. Look at all the Christians that still get cancer and Alzheimer’s. What does it mean for a good God to say He will deliver His people from all this evil yet His people are still suffering and even killed by all this evil?
Here is the good news. In the Greek, the phrase is “rhysai hemas apo tou ponerou.” The verse should read, “deliver us from the evil one.” You see, “tou” is the definite article meaning “the,” and “ponerou” is an adjective meaning “evil.” The important thing here is that there is no noun for “ponerou” to modify, and when an adjective stands alone in Greek with a definite article, one must insert a noun. In this case, the noun is “one.”
You may be asking, “What is the big deal? One word doesn’t change anything.” But I want you to know that this is such a big deal. Christ is not praying that the Father deliver Him from all evil. He wasn’t asking for an escape from the mocking, the beating, the cat of nine tails, the cross, the blood, the pain, or the suffering. Christ knew he had to die in order for the world to have eternal life.
Christ is praying for deliverance from the Evil One, Satan. Just like Christ, we are going to be confronted with evil. We will even be overwhelmed by evil. You will have times in your life when the leaves begin to fall and the temperature drops, and you find yourself in the middle of a harsh Winter. There will be times when the storms of life are rocking your boat, and the rain is pouring. It is in these times that we should not ask for safety or relaxing Summer days by praying, “Father, deliver us from evil.” Rather, we should pray that God deliver us from our adversary who seeks to devour us and force us to quit on God and our faith. Understand that God is so good and so marvelous that no amount of evil in this world can keep Him from turning it into your good.
So the next time you feel the deadness of Winter quickly approaching, lift up your head and put a song of victory in your heart for Hell and all its demons will not prevail over you and your God. As you get colder and colder and you begin to be crushed by the pain, remember that your God is just pruning back the old you and in just a little while, you will blossom into the person God always intended you to be.
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton, and his associate, Hunter Greene.)

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