Standing Through Winter’s Wilderness

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”

– Matthew 4:1

My Grandpa Schuller had many potent sayings, but one that’s had a great personal impact on my life was his admonition to “never cut down a tree in the winter.” Though it meant little to me as a kid from Southern California, when I moved to Oklahoma as a teenager, I finally understood the imagery that inspired this phrase. Since we lived in Broken Arrow, there was a huge forest behind our house that went on for as far as you could see. In the spring and summer, the trees were green and lush, but in the winter, they would lose all of their leaves. In fact, when covered with ice, they looked just like big twigs sticking out of the snowy ground. In that state, it was impossible to distinguish between those that were dead versus those that would ultimately thaw out and come back to life. However, months later, when the warmth of spring had melted the snow and new growth had emerged, it was clear which ones needed to be cut down. You see, the truth is that no tree bears fruit in the winter seasons of life; in fact, the goal in these times is simply to survive. Likewise, as we endure prolonged spiritual cold spells and are tempted to cut our losses and run, it’s vital that we resist the urge to give up. As people of Godly wisdom, we must come back to center before we make choices that will impact the remainder of our lives. For example, it’s interesting that the devil led Jesus into the wilderness before testing Him. After forty days and nights with no food or human contact, the deceiver knew that our Savior was in a vulnerable position, and he chose His moment of greatest weakness to tempt Him with pleasures that looked satisfying, but which, if accepted, had the potential to destroy His entire earthly ministry. Unfortunately, the same is true today — our adversary hasn’t changed his methods and he still uses the uncertainty of winter to get us to compromise our confidence in the Lord’s goodness. 

My friend, don’t forfeit blessings in the midst of the wilderness or cut down a tree that is filled with God’s goodness just because it isn’t currently bearing fruit. Jesus is using this time of testing to strengthen your character and forge an iron-like resolve in your soul. Rather than running the other way when things get hard or even giving up all-together, determine to take one moment at a time and press on. Even if all you do is breathe, your faithful Father will not leave you; He will get you through the dark of winter and lead you again to the warmth of spring. As He completes the good work He’s begun in you, He will show you when and how to prune the dead things in your life, but until He speaks, stay planted in His faithfulness and trust Him to lead, guide, and protect you while the current storm passes by.


Jesus, I trust you to deliver me from the difficulties of this season. I will not cut anything down until you tell me to.


What “trees” has the devil tempted you to cut down in the midst of a winter season, whether current or past? What was the result?


If you’re unable to attend your local church or need some additional weekly inspiration, be sure to tune into Hour of Power every Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. PT on TBN or watch online at  

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4 Responses

  1. This current season of struggle has taught me that there are better days ahead.If we will only turn to Jesus and pour out our hearts to him in prayer.He will get us through this Covid-19’darkness.I hope and pray that the Hour of Power will continue its mission of reaching out to the lost and lonely people around the world with the positive and healing messages of God .And also to the magnificent Hour of Power choir under the direction of Dr Irene Messalores.That they continue to stay healthy and bless us all with their beautiful voices.And to Mark Riley and the Hour of Power
    Orchestra much love and thanks for the uplifting music.To the Voices of Hope Chidren’sChoir under the direction of Sarah Grandpre.May they also stay healthy.
    And to Pastor Bobby Schuller.A Happy Birthday and a prayer that Our Heavenly Fathernwill protect him and his beautiful family from this terrible virus.As always I
    remain a faithful,viewer and Happy and Wholesome student in Jesus Christ.I hope and pray that no more lives are lost and a cure for this virus is found.

  2. That is why we cut “evergreen” trees for Christmas trees, rather than holiday trees! We cut them when there are no fruit (cones). Then bring them inside and “light them with the light of Christ”, which is the reason for the season. Merry Christmas in July!

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