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Two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? Ecclesiastes 4:11

I’ve never been a big fan of winter. There is little I find to recommend it. Maybe it’s because I spent most of my life in central Texas, where the seasons are referred to as “almost summer, summer, still summer—and Christmas.” My blood is just too thin for serious cold. I even turned down admission to Vanderbilt University—all because Tennessee in April was “too chilly.” I’m a regular little hothouse flower.

Recent cold weather reminds me of another harsh winter we endured a few years back. At night, temperatures routinely dropped below freezing. Even with the thermostat cranked up to 70 degrees, wearing flannel pajamas and huddled under my heaviest wool blanket, I couldn’t seem to get comfortable. Seeking the warmth I needed to fall asleep, I discovered a delightfully unexpected bonus. As soon as I was under the covers, the chill drove me straight into the arms of my warm-blooded husband. His body heat provided the comfort I needed.

However, this took some maneuvering. Since we sleep in an enormous king-sized bed, I had to work my way from my side all the way across the mattress to reach him.

As I snuggled into his welcoming embrace, I found the solid reality of his presence both physically and emotionally comforting. I slept better. I dreamt better. I woke rested and refreshed. It didn’t matter what happened during the day, or what might be waiting for me in the morning. In those precious nighttime hours, I had Brent close beside me. I could drift off to sleep in the assurance that I faced nothing alone.

I don’t take such security for granted. I recall the days when my husband traveled for a living, and I spent most nights alone. I think back to the months my sweet friend visited her husband in hospice care. She endured many nights of solitary slumber—with even more ahead. I try to remember to count my blessings at bedtime—especially the one sleeping peacefully beside me.

One particularly cold night, as I nestled contentedly beside my husband, I was grateful for this luxury even in my sleep. I found myself dreaming of another wife—one who had just lost her husband. I knew she would miss the kind of reassuring presence I currently enjoyed, and I mourned for her.

The next day I was stunned to learn that my uncle had passed away less than twenty-four hours earlier. It was my aunt who would now sleep alone. It was she who faced many lonely nights ahead. Awake, I grieved for her even more. I prayed that God would meet her every evening, wrap her in His comforting embrace and remind her that she was not alone.

I don’t much care for “winters of the spirit,” either. The cold and stillness of these seasons make me feel restless, lonely and completely out of my element. I was made for warmth. However, at such times, when I desperately need reassurance, I find relief in the arms of my Father. He reminds me that He has been and always will be with me. No matter what happened yesterday or what’s coming tomorrow, I face nothing alone. I get up and go forward, rested and refreshed.

For anyone enduring a particularly harsh winter, I invite you to come out of the cold. Reach out and seek the solid reality of God’s presence. Burrow deep into the comfort of His arms. Allow Him to wrap you in His embrace, and reassure you that you are never alone.

It’s time to get warm.

in_jesus_arms“His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me.” Song of Songs 2:6

“His huge outstretched arms protect you— under them you’re perfectly safe.” Psalm 91:4

“God, Your faithful love is so valuable that people take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.” Psalm 36:7