Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Negative degrees...and yet

Right now, it is negative four degrees outside. I didn't even have to check the temperature to know the coldness, because the snow still squeaks when it is walked on.  In the mountains, native Americans knew the extent of coldness by the evergreen leaves of the massive Rhododendron bushes.  Its leaves curl up, depending on the outside temperature.  In frigid weather, they look like cigars hanging from the branches.

It is bitterly cold and bleak, a black and white world with only the splash of redness from a cardinal or two to indicate that color itself has not departed to retire permanently in Florida.  The trees are crazy black lace across the sky, the air too cold even to snow.  The grass is still there, blanketed and invisible.  The bushes are buried under a canyon of snow along the driveway.  I can't see them, but they are still there.

But we know that in a couple of months, the trees will bud, the grass will grow, the snow will melt and soak slow and deep into the soil, no longer a frosty inconvenience, but that which nourishes and nurtures every living thing. We cannot see it yet, but we know this perennial design, frost being transformed and incredible beauty taking the time to get ready for a spectacular show.

We cannot see it yet, but we know.  That is what hope is, not "wishful thinking," but that on which you can stake your life.  God is there, right there with you and me.  How differently would we love and live if we staked our lives on His Presence, even on the bleak days, when it feels like harshness will last forever. What may appear invisible on the surface is actually God working in every dimension behind the scenes, getting everything in place, right on His schedule.

You can trust Him through it.
God is there,
                 even in this.
Follow Him into it.

We don't live with mystery,
     but in the unfolding of His purposes.

God is faithful.

For in Him
     all things were created,
in heaven and on earth,
              visible and invisible,
whether thrones or dominions
or principalities or authorities -
all things were created through Him
                        and for Him.
He is before all things,
and in Him
          all things hold together.

                       Colossians 1. 16-17


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