I, by nature, am not a winter person. I revel in warm, sunny weather. I love to sit outside and let the sun warm my face. I like my skin getting brown. I love to hear the birds talk and a light breeze straight from heaven rustle my hair.
And we've all heard our whole lives that we should "look on the bright side" of everything, but that kind of cultural pop psychology jargon doesn't do much for me. There's some truth in it, but to really do its job it has got to be something deeper than that.
It's got to be rooted in truth. The one truth that comes to mind today is that God is good. He is very good. He is perfect Good. Jesus said to someone who called Him "Good Teacher" that "No one is good except God alone." Luke 18:19b
God knows a lot of us are tired of winter, but He doesn't base his actions and creative energies on His children's emotions or likes or dislikes (just imagine if we who are parents based our life choices on what our children wanted and told us to do!). But that doesn't change that God is good and God doesn't want to make His children miserable. Even if we are very bad He doesn't want to make us miserable.
So, how do we look at something in our lives we don't naturally like? We can look at everything in our lives as gifts from God and then search out why they are gifts to us!
Okay, yes, that is kind of like "looking at the bright side of things," but it's different. It's rooted in eternal truth, in God's love for us and in His goodness.
So, Jane, why is this winter a gift to you?
Well, Jane, this winter is a gift to me because:
1. I've been able to wake up several extra mornings withoutt an alarm.
2. I've been able to cuddle with my husband mornings when typically I wouldn't have had.
3. Life has a slower pace. I love slow-paced living!
4. Shannon and I have found out we love recording podcasts.
I'm still waiting eagerly for spring, but to see these benefits I have gleaned from this very snowy winter helps me accept it a little bit more.
I think we can do this gift thing with anything that comes into our lives -- even death of a loved one. I think back on my daughter Maggie dying in 2013 and I think, yes, good things, blessings came from her death (they don't compare to having her with me, but it is a gentler way to see death). What came from her death? Her funeral was glorious -- so many people there and so many people were able to hear the gospel. My church family really supported us and people outside our church family got to see what a wonderful thing it is to be part of a church family.
Those are just two things. There were more. Back to winter -- I still don't like winter, but I can see how it is a gift to me. And I will always, always, always wish Maggie hadn't died in 2013, but death is a reality for all of us, and we all will have to deal with a loved one dying. It is God's will we continue to live full lives even when we have these gaping holes from loved ones' deaths.
Hey, one announcement! Listen to Jane and Shannon's podcast later today. It will be on the Dupree Baptist Church website pastor's page. Click here to listen. There's one from last week on the site now and I will post today's when we get it done (sometime later this morning). Last week's was really good. It is about 20 minutes long.