Rainy Days and Long Winters

I think often of the change of seasons and how it relates so intricately with our lives.  We seem to just get settled into Spring around here and boom it’s Summer! Let me tell you in Northwest Mississippi you know when summer hits.  The seasons come and go, and our lives seem to ebb and flow with the same motion. Young adults who get married, work jobs, have children, raise children, retirees, etc. The seasons move along and before we know it the time has gone and we wonder how it happened so quickly.

All except winter that is…winter lasts FOREVER. Or at least it feels that way every February.  This Florida transplant still struggles with February and I try so hard not to let the weather get me down, but it’s hard when it’s nothing but rain and gray skies.

Have you found yourself feeling the same? Why do all of the other seasons fly by while Winter drags by slow and stale.  It hasn’t helped  that the last couple weeks have brought their share of minor struggles.  You know the little things that accumulate and make you discouraged or disheartened along the way.  It’s easy to become distracted and encumbered with those weights but even as Paul encouraged us to “lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Heb.12:1) My challenge is to do this in the midst of the rain and cold.

When things are smooth sailing, I find this task much easier to do! But the task is not only to be managed in the easy season, it’s also for the Winter of the year and the soul. When we are parched, and raw and yearning for the warmth of the Sun and the Son, we have only to remember those words from Lamentations and know that by His mercy which is new every morning, we can do exactly the job God has for us each day. The purpose that we are here to fulfill on this earth, the precise reason for our living and breathing and moving.

If you find yourself struggling today with the burdens of this life, I pray you’ll turn to the One who bears all our burdens with us, and treasure the promise of the seasons – they are not forever, the next season is right around the corner.

 

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Owning my Inadequacy

My current Bible reading plan has me reading 10 chapters a day. Mostly you move ahead to the next book of the Bible as each is completed, with readings through the Old and New Testaments.  The only difference is the book of Acts and Proverbs.  When you finish those you start again.  It’s a little confusing to explain, but if you google Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading system you can find some more info there.  I have really enjoyed this method this year. I try to change things up each year as I read through the Bible, because I just find new and wonderful nuggets along the way.  This morning was just such a time for me but it happened in my first chapter – so I was stuck just pondering the passage for a while.

Has that happened for you? You’ve read something before, but never has the thought struck about the way things are worded or why Jesus said or did something the way he did?  It’s so exciting for me after all these years to continually be shown new things, and to have new thoughts leap up from the pages to my brain so I thought my encouraging word for you today would come from what I read this morning – I hope you will be encouraged by it.

Luke 9:10-17 Sets the scene once again for the feeding of the five thousand.  This is such an exciting time in the gospels as Jesus is teaching and leading and healing the people coming to him for help.  This is also not the only time we read of this story – it’s just from Luke’s gospel this time.  This record of events states that the 12 disciples came to Jesus asking him to send the large crowd away.  They needed food and lodging and the disciples were concerned because they were in a desolate place.

Now mind you I’ve read this account multiple times before but I was struck today by Jesus’ reply – vs. 13 But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.”  Now Jesus was already aware that they had no provisions for 5,000 men but they responded anyway with the fact that they only had five loaves and two fish.  I found it interesting that instead of Jesus just saying, yes you are right, we have no food I need to perform a miracle with the little we have, his first response was to tell them to feed them.

For me in that moment, I couldn’t just keep reading, because I know that is exactly what God does with me in my life.  He reveals my complete lack. My emptiness, and brokenness. My weakness and my failures. My inadequacy to do anything meaningful on my own. My complete mess of my own making with no answers in sight, so that He can reveal His glory in my story.  He took the little they gathered and blessed it and fed the crowd WITH LEFTOVERS afterward.  He revealed to them what they could not do so that they could see His vast omnipotence and miraculous hand in and over all.

How exciting!  Let me be honest though, it’s not often that I want to count up my failures and weakness.  Truth be told, I’m rather a “take charge” and get it done kind of person and  I work to get things figured out.  He reminded me in the quiet this morning that He already has it all figured out, and He is just waiting for me to realize it.

What a gift our relationship is with Him. My encouragement for you is to please – take the time to sit in His presence.  Nothing will help you face your day better than to dwell with Him.