May you be well and enjoying your day.
"I am so over this winter", seems to be echoing from everyone the last few days. I, myself, am so ready to work out in the garden. Ready for Spring. The real issue is what does God have in store for us.
It is sunny here again with a promise of reaching 22 degrees. It seems God has not quite finished winter yet as there are predictions of colder temperatures on the horizon for the week. It has been a real winter with lots of snow and cold. Although we are all exhausted and weary from the extreme weather conditions, God a has purpose for keeping the weather the way it has been. He must have a need for making some changes around us. Changes we may not understand until later.
What a struggle my mind has with believing the Lord has a reason to bring such coldness that would harden any of us in a flash if we took our eyes off Him for single blink of an eye. Alas, that is where the battle of Faith lies my loved ones...in our minds. I am guilty of looking away from the Lord for one of those blinks of an eye myself...and man oh man...did I get a blast of artic air blown over me and I truly felt the bitterness of the cold winter. It nearly froze all of me...until I read the following devotional by Oswald Chambers. It references Matthew 10:27 from The Voice Bible:
“And you should proclaim in the bright light of day everything that I have whispered to you in the dark. Whatever whispers you hear—shout them from the rooftops of houses.”
The devotional is this: “At times God puts us through the discipline of darkness to teach us to heed Him. Song birds are taught to sing in the dark, and we are put into the shadow of God’s hand until we learn to hear from Him. “What I tell you in darkness”--watch where God puts you in the darkness, and when you are there keep your mouth shut. Are you in the dark just now in your circumstances, or in your life with God? Then remain quiet. If you open your mouth in the dark, you will talk in the wrong mood: darkness is the time to listen. Don’t talk to other people about it; don’t read books to find out the reason of the darkness, but listen and heed. If you talk to other people, you cannot hear what God is saying. When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else when you get into the light. After every time in the darkness there comes a mixture of delight and humiliation [if there is delight only, I question whether we have heard God at all], delight in hearing God speak, but chiefly humiliation--What a long time I was in hearing that! How slow I have been in understanding that! And yet God has been saying it all these days and weeks. Now He gives you the gift of humiliation which brings the softness of heart that will always listen to God now.”
Well, my loved ones, this message touched and warmed my heart in an amazing way. How often lately, have I gone about just chattering away about how cold and miserable this winter has been; how tedious this winter chill makes my job; how freaked out and fearful I am by the cruel weather conditions that I have to endure to get to work. How many times I have spoken aloud to others at work, while out running errands, and most often moaning and murmuring to Salah. The more I looked away from the Lord the more I complained. The deeper the bitter cold settled into my bones casting dreariness over my thoughts. It began affecting my attitude allowing depression to creep into mind which in turn makes me feel utterly hopeless and leaving me filled with self pity. All together just plain sounding like Dino, Fred Flintstone’s pet dinosaur, going: nnnnnnnnnn [well you get the picture]. How could I ever hear God through all of that noise I was making.
Perhaps, there is a circumstance right now...no matter how big or small...no matter how significant or trivial...God is speaking to us about it...He will either remove the obstacle or situation entirely, if it glorifies Him to do so...or He will definitely give us the grace, strength and ability to keep walking through it with Him [alas that is the key phrase ‘with Him’]. He asks us to lower the noise level around us and quiet ourselves in order not to miss what He saying to us.
If we hold back, if we do not submit favorite wishes and submit with every fiber of our being [that includes unplugging and quieting ourselves--to listen, really listen for the Lord’s voice] every day to the Lord and look only toward ourselves, we find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. How many times I have personally happened upon that lonesome road myself? The last month or so that is exactly where I landed...on the bitter pathway...because I was too proud and loud to quiet myself to heed and listen to God.
Reading the above devotional literally slapped my face and snapped my mind right out of that silliness. It focused my vision back unto Jesus where it belongs...it quieted my murmuring and complaining [which no one really wants to hear anyway!]. I was [am] able to hear the Lord’s voice again...and I long to hear His voice and be by His side...I miss Him when I move...it is just like I miss my Salah when I leave Salah’s side; I can hardly wait to get back home and by his side...I love the Lord just like that too and ever grateful to be by the Lord’s side.
I leave you with the following prayer: Have mercy on us, my Lord Jesus, according to Your steadfast love, according to Your abundant mercy blot out our transgressions. Help us to remember that we will lose nothing of value by putting You first and foremost in our lives. Create in us a clean heart, and put a new and right spirit within us. Strengthen our faith so that the worthless opinion of others will not sway us. Show up the pride and arrogance that lies hidden in our nature. Make us more like You. Help us to be patient and painstaking in our search for the answer to spiritual confusion. Show us that there are no quick answers to life’s ‘big’ problems. Slow us down so that we keep pace with You. Help quiet us in order to hear what You have to say. May Your will be done in us, no matter what. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.