As I looked out the window from the lower floor of the church the other day, I watched about 30 robins swoop into the front lawn at eye level. Some perched on branches while others landed under the tree. In unison, they began to eat the buds, some on the snow-covered ground while others finished off the ones that remained on the branches. I had always heard that seeing a robin towards the end of winter is a sign that spring is near.
So, naturally, I wondered if seeing 30 of them was an even better indication of warmer weather being on its way. After some research and talking to a friend, my hopes of the old wives’ tale being true diminished. I was informed that robins are actually pretty hardy birds. Many of them stay up north and don't migrate south for the winter. So the flock that I saw was probably a group of these birds that decided to stay and endure the cold.
As I reflected on the birds that hunkered down through a season of barrenness and frigid temperatures, I wondered why they would choose to stay, especially when they have the capability to fly out of here! When conditions change around you… as the situations in life become more difficult… how do you typically respond? Do you take flight with the first chilly breeze that comes your way, or do you stay and prepare to face the challenges ahead?
There are many verses in Scripture that encourage us as followers of Christ to endure suffering, persevere through trials, and to have hope in difficulties:
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance.” (Romans 5:3)
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:36)
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3)
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)
These verses help us to have a hardy faith in Christ. We have not been called to migrate away from difficult seasons of life. The same God that provides for the robins in the middle of winter will give us everything we need to make it through bitter times in our lives. As we go through sufferings and trials, we have hope that is found in a loving Father who has given us His Spirit to go through barren and frigid times. As the winter makes us long for signs of spring, we find hope in the evidence of our own growth that comes from the seasons of hardships in our own lives.
So be encouraged, brothers and sisters, as we continue to walk through these final days of winter! It won't be long before spring comes, bringing new growth and life. Know that in the meantime, God will not waste suffering and difficulties that we face. He has allowed them, in His love, to produce the strength we need to endure and persevere for His glory!