Will Winter Ever End?

snow sunsetThis has been the big question of many all across the United States this year.    We have had way more snow than ever not to mention the sub-zero temperatures here in Ohio.  After several times of shoveling the driveway out, it was a relief to have someone knock on our door and ask if they could do it for us?  We negotiated a price that was suitable for all and away they went to dig us out.  It worked well the first couple of times.  However, last week, we had a deeper and heavier snow than usual.

Jim was working from home that day and I had been out.  When I pulled up, there was a young lady in her pajama pants scraping at the ice and snow on our driveway.  It appeared this was the first time she’d ever shoveled snow.  I called Jim on the phone from the road and asked, “Did you hire someone different to do the shoveling today?   This isn’t the same person that I remember.”  It had been the same person who came to our door, but instead of two strapping men, we got the lady in her p.j’s.

As I got out of the car, she was complaining that her  job was really hard.  She asked if we could pay her more money this time because it was going to take her forever to get it done.  I agreed to give her more and actually gave her more than she was asking for when she was done.  However, I should have looked closer before I paid her.  We found out the next day when we tried to get out to go to work, she had only shoveled half of the driveway outside the garage.  We had to maneuver several times in order to get out of the garage without hitting a four-foot wall of snow!  It was miraculous that we were even able to get out.

I’ve heard so many people complaining about winter.  I have been included in that conversation from time to time.  It’s like going through a trial.  When it starts out, we’re motivated to make it through. As Christians, we are taught in the Bible that we should rejoice always…even in times of trial.   At first we optimistically pray to God that He will come dig us out of our mess.  Then after a while of seeing God at work, clearing the way for us, more struggles seem to fall on us again.  Then the whining begins again.  Some days we just want to stay in our pajamas and cry, “Woe is me!”

Before you know it, the ice starts forming and we lose hope.  I don’t think I’ll ever get out of this mess!  We get discouraged, stop reading our Bible, stop praying and continue to whine.  The walls start closing in on us to where we feel trapped.  We might not get out of this one!

But then the sun comes out.  It shines down on the mess we have and begins to warm our world and melt away our problems.  When the next storm hits in your life, will you be one that whines and sees no way out?  When the skies are grey and there’s no sun to be seen, do you feel that God isn’t there?  It’s those that are willing to keep shovelingto the very edges…that get through the storms. Don’t give up!  God will clear your paths and lead you to Him!  Don’t look at your circumstances.  Rather, trust in Him who stands by to dig you out.

Psalm 107:28-29 (NIV) Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress.   He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.

God can do it for you, too!


Not By Might, Not By Power…But By My Spirit, Says The Lord

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I remember when I was a new Christian, my children were young.  I bought them praise and worship tapes and they carried them around in their tape recorders blasting music throughout the house.  One song keeps ringing in my head tonight.  The words say, “Not by might, not by power, but by my spirit says the Lord.”  I have to remind myself that even though I am a very strong person, I am nothing without the strength and guidance from God and The Holy Spirit.  In fact, God has designed us to depend on Him…not on ourselves.

On Friday, Cincinnati got a lot of snow.  Did I say a LOT of snow?  I am not usually afraid to drive in the snow, but this was the first day I had ever driven my new car in the snow.  I’ve had a four-wheel drive SUV in the past and I never feared the weather with that.  But now, I am driving a smaller, more gas-efficient car and was a bit nervous about how it would handle on the slushy streets as I traveled for work.  When I headed home, I said a prayer, hoping to get back all in one piece.

I encountered cars sitting sideways in the road, others spinning their tires without going anywhere, and even a semi stuck on the back roads not able to move up the hill.  I was traveling the back roads because I knew the highway was jammed up with accidents before I left.  Though, my preference is always to go the highway on good weather days.  It gets me there in half the time and is a familiar route.

As I reflect on 2013 and look forward to a new start in 2014, I feel as though, I’ve been traveling the back roads all this year.  Instead of taking the high-speed, easy highway through life, I have been forced to get off the path of familiarity.  I have had to find new routes and sometimes have even had to be pushed out of a slick spot on the road.  There have been times along the path that I even felt cold and alone, in the quietness of my travels to a destination unknown.  Perhaps you can relate.

Don’t we all go through times like that in life?  There are some things in life that we can’t change in our own strength.  We can’t take away the pain that we are suffering.  We can’t always change something one of our loved ones has to go through in their life.  We can’t hold onto a life whose time it is to die.  We can’t heal someone just because we want to, even when we are a doctor.  If we could change these things, I know we all would in a heartbeat.

In reality, God doesn’t expect us to travel these unknown roads alone. He wants us to go with us and be our Guide.  He nudges us to get off the path of normalcy at times so that we can find Him on the back roads.  For it is when we are in situations of the unknown, in fear, or stuck in a rut not able to move forward or backward, that we are most likely to call out to Him to help.  God even gives us snowy days to remind us of our need for Him.  I can hear Him saying, “Trust me.  You may not be able to see where you are going, what you’re traveling on, or how you’re going to get there.  However, stop.  Look around.  My love and grace covers all.  I have enveloped you in My Spirit just like the freshness of the newly fallen snow.  Isn’t it a beautiful thing?”

snow windowWhen I got home after two hours of treacherous driving, Jim was here to greet me.  In fact, he had fixed dinner and handed me a plate as I walked through the door!  I was a bit disheveled from the tenseness of the past two hours traveling only twenty-six miles in total.  What a relief it was to see his face and not have to cook too!  We sat by our big window in the living room to eat.  As I turned around in my safe and comfortable surroundings, I could now see the beauty of the snow outside my window.  It had terrorized me all the way home, but suddenly now, it held me in awe of its beauty.  We turned on the fireplace, turned off the lights and marveled at the quiet and majestic glow of the snow as it lit up our room from the outside.

When we are traveling the back roads of life, we may not see the beauty.  It may be a huge inconvenience and not take us exactly where we thought we were going to go.  It may even be scary and be life-threatening at times.  However, looking back someday, I expect that we, too, will be able to see the beauty in the journey.  With the snow as our reminder, let us not forget…

God is everywhere…

He’s got it covered.

Psalm 9:10 (NIV) Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.