The Dark Hedges, County Antrim
Lagan Valley Regional Park, Lisburn, County Antrim
Dunguaire Castle, Galway Bay, County Galway
Clonmacnoise, County Offaly
A country road in County Down, earlier today, 24 January 2021.
There was snow across parts of Ireland today as well as the UK where there was severe disruption in some places. Today’s was the heaviest of the winter so far. In England and Wales several coronavirus vaccination and testing centres were forced to close due to safety concerns on the roads. There have been widespread weather warnings.
Today’s verse is a prayer. The Psalmist, David, was being hunted by Saul at the time. He probably didn’t need to worry about snow; but nevertheless he faced a life or death situation. He needed to outwit Saul, and remain a step or two ahead of him. Slipping up in any way could be fatal. Hence, his prayer to God for ‘sure steps.’
Today at Hazelbank, rain and mist made the sea barely visible on this very wet January morning. Yes, believe it or not, that’s the sea out there. Right now, Ireland and the UK are in their winter season. The hours of daylight are short and sometimes days pass and the sun doesn’t shine. The winter season can be cold and feel restrictive, with some people becoming susceptible to colds, flu or other infections or ailments that are less common in the summertime.
Rates of depression and even suicide tend to be higher at this time of year. A Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is sometimes referred to as “winter depression” since the symptoms usually affect people more severely in this season. You may be going through what feels like a winter season in your life due to your circumstances. It may be that you are feeling weighed down – struggling to cope. With the pandemic, more people than normal are suffering with both physical and mental illness – anxiety regarding the economy, their livelihoods, their health, and the future in general.
The good news is that Spring always follows Winter. It’s a law that never fails. And your Spring and Summer season can come in your life if you hold on and if you put your trust in the One who doesn’t change with the seasons. He remains the same on the rainy days and the days of sunshine; in winter and summer. And His love for you doesn’t change with the seasons or with your circumstances; it is consistent whether you feel happy or sad, optimistic or pessimistic.
So whatever you may be going through right now – those negative circumstances are subject to change for the better. You can claim the promise of Psalm 23 that says, “Goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.” That’s a promise for all those who choose to trust in the One who is the same, yesterday, today and forever.