Bundle up, your winter may be near

Dave Hinman - Contributing columnist

I retired last year from Dove Church. My serving the church is all volunteer now. I teasingly tell people, “They used to pay me to be a good pastor, but now I’m good for nothing.”

As a volunteer, I’m able to be selective about what duties to engage in. I still teach, preach on occasion, and continue doing weddings and funerals, but no longer have administrative responsibilities. I’m grateful for that.

If anyone objects to what I do or don’t do, I can just say, “Well, you get what you pay for”.

To be truthful, I’m no longer very good at administrative duties anyway. Though multi-tasking was never my strongest forte, I sometimes can find gum chewing challenging, even when not walking. These days I’m prone to fumble, falter, fizzle, and forget.

It seems I’ve gotten older.

I stand in awe of how God has changed Robyn and me, and our job description and life condition, over a lifetime. I think we’re in the late fall of our lives, or maybe early wintertime. I’m not sure. The assessment is a bit arbitrary, since we don’t know how much time we have remaining. I hope it’s lots.

This is the final article I’m writing about the seasonal changing of our weather in the Buckeye state; how an interminable winter gradually morphs to a brief spring, followed by a torrid summer, that gently changes to the multihued autumn. Let’s gaze back to winter once more, and the natural progression it makes from fall.

To begin, can we agree fall’s vibrant beauty, transitioning to winter’s bitter lifelessness, is reminiscent of the end of our lives, when we move to the barrenness of death?

Just as the seasons circle annually, so our lives cycle from birth to death. We start as helpless infants, many times returning to helplessness as elderly invalids. How humbling for mature, competent, independent persons, to age beyond their ability to fend for themselves. We went through this with my mother, and my father-in-law.

It’s very hard attending loved ones as they decline and die. But, as highlighted last week, there’s a time for every season under heaven, even, often, an illness unto death. We all, one day, will go from earth to earth, ashes to ashes, and dust to dust ourselves.

As I consider our aging, and the gradual, but relentless, decay we all experience, I’m heartened by the patience God exhibits. The King James version of the Bible uses the term “long suffering” for patience. God suffers with us for a long time, diligently providing repeated and ongoing opportunity for us to acknowledge Him.

The Bible says it like this: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some consider slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9).

God suffers with us a long time in our aging process. He doesn’t give up. God woos, calling us to salvation, not wanting any of us to perish apart from Him.

That’s my take on why many linger, nearly incapacitated, often in pain, humiliated by conditions beyond their control: they’re preparing to live eternally in Heaven. If they’re not saved, God is giving them more time. If they are saved, God is purifying their souls in preparation for eternity.

Regardless, God is with them, and will be on time in keeping his promise.

What season of life are you in? Have you noticed it getting colder out?

Is your winter near?

God wants us to bundle up before it gets too cold, or too late. Would you like to know how to get ready for wintertime? Please watch this brief video at: https://www.gotquestions.org/got-forgiveness.html .

Here’s wishing you a warm summer, and praying God blesses your preparation for the cold winter ahead!

Dave Hinman is Pastor Emeritus at Dove Church Wilmington. Contact him at [email protected]


Dave Hinman

Contributing columnist