Andrew Schroer

Andrew Schroer

“There is no way that this winter is ever going to end.”

That is a line from one of my favorite movies, “Groundhog Day,” starring Bill Murray. In the movie, Bill Murray’s character is forced to relive the same cold winter day, Groundhog Day, over and over again. He feels trapped, reliving the same nightmare day after day after day.

I thought of that movie this last week as I watched the news. The new omicron variant of COVID is spreading quickly through the world. My Facebook feed is filling with people announcing they just tested positive. Experts are warning the number of “breakthrough cases,” i.e., those who get sick even though they have been vaccinated, is going to rise exponentially.

I remember at the end of 2020 feeling positive the pandemic would soon be over. Then this last summer, the delta variant swept through our community and the number of COVID cases spiked to their highest levels since the beginning of the pandemic.

Then in October, the numbers suddenly plummeted. We had almost no cases in our community. Life began to return to a semblance of what it was before. Our little town in Texas let out a collective sigh of relief.

But now omicron has taken the world by storm. The numbers are ticking up quickly. It looks like another big wave is coming as we move into 2022.

I find myself wondering with Bill Murray if this winter is ever going to end.

Two thousand years ago, a group of Christian churches was having problems. They were being persecuted for their faith. They were being ridiculed, beaten up and even thrown into prison. They were in the middle of a dark, cold winter which seemed like it would never end.

So the apostle Paul went to visit them. He encouraged them with these words: “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

That doesn’t sound very encouraging. Basically, Paul was saying, “You are going to suffer.”

The encouraging word in that verse is the word “through.” We are going “through” the hardships. In other words, they will end one day. The ancient Persian proverb is right: “This too shall pass.”

Just look back on your life. God has gotten you through every storm and hardship so far. How will he not also get you through this one? This winter – this pandemic – is going to end … but it may be a while.

Your pains and problems may last months or even years, but God will eventually get you through. They will end – if not here on earth, then when you get to heaven. Remember, we are going through these trials on our way to God’s kingdom of heaven. You can be sure of that because Jesus, your Savior, came and suffered the winter of God’s discontent in your place.

For all your doubts and worry, for all your complaining about your lot in life, for all your failings and sins, Jesus died. You will never have to suffer the endless hardship of hell because Jesus suffered it in your place. You are forgiven. You are on your way to heaven.

In just a few weeks, we celebrate Groundhog Day. We still don’t know if Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow or not. We don’t know how much longer this winter will last. We don’t know how much longer this pandemic will last. But be sure that it will end, just like all your trials and struggles will end one day.

Remember, you are going through them on your way to heaven.

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— Pastor Andrew Schroer has been a pastor for over 20 years and is currently serving at Redeemer Lutheran Church with campuses in Edna and Victoria, Texas. Read more of his devotional writing and contact him at 364DaysofThanksgiving.com. His new book “364 Days of Devotion” is now available on amazon.com.