Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Lessons in the Snow

Off in the distance the blue yonder finally showed up, revealed by the parting of the clouds. It’s always been there, but the clouds created doubt about the sun’s ability to shine. Do we see Jesus, the Son of God, in the same way? Do the unpleasant circumstances in our lives cause us to doubt that the Son is even there? 

As I walked my dogs through the snow and ice of our recent snowstorm, the evidence of God’s presence became reality. He’s here, right now! He’s never left me, no matter what my situation. It may look gray and frightening, but He’s right beside me. 

Using the weather and my natural surroundings, God guided me to a deeper understanding of His truth through these three spiritual lessons: 1) blue sky and sun symbolize God’s constant presence even when cloudy, 2) underneath physical beauty may lie danger, 3) a warm covering protects from wind and cold. Using the Old and New Testaments, I want to share with you what God taught me outside on a wintry snowy day.

Several inches of ice and snow covered everything outdoors and big billowy clouds filled the sky. With my two dogs leading the way, I watched my every step while carefully trudging over slippery spots. Suddenly a bright light appeared and I glanced upward to see the sun peeking through gray clouds. As I rounded a corner, I looked up again and saw blue sky. Awww—I knew it was there. For three days, the overcast sky rained down sleet and snow, but now, the clouds gave way to the warm sun heating up the earth and me. 

As the sun warmed my outside, the Son of God warmed my heart. Actually seeing the sunlight gave me reason to rejoice, but it also opened me eyes to reality. The sun always shines regardless of the weather and Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is always available to us. But we tend to forget about His presence when we allow circumstances to cloud our vision. The fact remains—when only clouds are evident, the sun still shines daily. Another fact endures—when our lives appear gloomy, the Son is still shining everyday. Do you believe He is near to you? Do you trust that He rains down His love upon you? Be encouraged by the hope of blue sky and sunlight and listen with your heart to what He says about His abiding love and grace.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
    from those whose walk is blameless.
Lord Almighty,
    blessed is the one who trusts in you.
Psalm 84:11-12 (NIV)

Light is sweet,
    and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.
Ecclesiastes 11:7 (NIV)

No longer will violence be heard in your land,
    nor ruin or destruction within your borders,
but you will call your walls Salvation
    and your gates Praise.

The sun will no more be your light by day,
    nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
    and your God will be your glory.

Your sun will never set again,
    and your moon will wane no more;
the Lord will be your everlasting light,
    and your days of sorrow will end.
Isaiah 60:18-20 (NIV)

Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 6:3 (NIV)

But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves. Malachi 4:2 (NIV)

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Rev. 3:20 (NIV)
Continuing on our walk, I noticed how ice on the trees turned into water droplets and icy patches on the ground changed into slushy puddles. Everything glowed as the sun glistened off the wet snow. It was beautiful until I almost tripped. Then I realized ice still remained underneath the snow; danger lay beneath the beauty. Suddenly I remembered a news report—many people were without power, tree limbs were falling on houses, and several people had died because of the cold. What looked appealing to me wreaked havoc on others. Sometimes we get caught up in the allure of things/people/places and forget about possible risks. Beauty can mislead us into thinking all is well.

God then brought to mind some Scripture that spoke to my thoughts. On his journey to the promised land, Abraham and his nephew, Lot, had acquired many processions of livestock and precious metals. Because of the great amount of flocks of animals, their herders began to quarrel. So Abraham suggested they separate, allowing his nephew to choose first which direction to go. Lot looked around and chose the lush countryside of Sodom (eventually God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of the evil within them—read about it in Genesis 18-19). Lot saw only the area’s outer beauty, not realizing danger existed within its borders. Are you deceived by glamour and magnificence? Have you ever considered the dangers lurking nearby? Read below a portion of the story about Lot’s choice found in the thirteenth chapter of Genesis.

Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.  Genesis 13:10-13 (NIV)  
In the New Testament, Peter reminds us to be aware of the concealed dangers around us. He says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV) 
Even though the sun melted away the remnants of a snowstorm, the air remained cold and the wind blew colder. I gave God thanks for the warm wrappings of my coat, hat, and gloves. Knowing I walked toward a warm house caused me to rejoice in my many blessings and God’s love. It doesn’t matter whether my life seems flawless or is in shambles, I serve a God whose love and grace strengthens me for another day. My faith in Jesus allows me to trust Him, no matter what I see before me. What about those that know no grace, those that haven’t accepted the love of Jesus Christ? What do they do when the cold forbidden dangers surround them and there are no warm loving arms around them. Where do they go for comfort? 
But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
    let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
    that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
    you surround them with your favor as with a shield. Psalm 5:11-12 (NIV)

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)

I hope my lessons in the snow help you to know, without a shadow of a doubt, that God is always near to you, no matter how cloudy your circumstance. He hears you when you call to Him. Even if hidden dangers lurk nearby, He is available. He desires a loving relationship with you. He’s standing at the door to your heart. Listen—I hear a knock. Go ahead, we can talk another day—go answer that call.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NIV)

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