It is March and I get up this morning to 4 degree weather. What is wrong with this picture? Oh well, we can complain about the weather or we can weather the weather, or we can praise God He is in charge of the weather. To be thankful for all things can sometimes be a tall order, but it is the will of God.
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
This reminds me of a poem I once heard after a March blizzard when 18 inches of snow was dumped on Pillsbury Baptist Bible College.
Whether the weather be nice
Or whether the weather be not
We will weather the weather
Whatever the weather
Whether we like it or not!
This poem has true Minnesota grit to it. It basically is saying, ‘Get over it! We live in Minnesota and thus we need to get traction in our resolve as true Northerners.’ But this can be done as an act of the will with a still disgruntled heart. Can we honestly thank God for the cold and the forecast for blizzard conditions tomorrow? Yes, but not if we go by how we feel. If Job went strictly by how he felt he would have taken his wife’s advice and cursed God and died in the midst of his afflictions. Compared to Job, and many other adversities, the weather can seem to be a rather trite complaint until one thinks about it. What about the typhoon that hit Indonesia a while back and impacted hundreds of thousands of lives; or the tornado which takes a person’s home and his children? Read about this storm in Job.
Life is full of adversity and if we do not have a theology of adversity based upon a Biblical understanding it would be very easy to walk through life totally depressed. There are too many things to get us down unless we come to really believe with all our hearts what the Bible says about our God and how He is pleased to deal with us.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God,
to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
In every thing give thanks???? All things work together for good???? Brothers and Sisters, unless by faith we take the question marks off the previous two statements and consider them to be propositional truth, we are doomed to our feelings rather than the strength of the everlasting arms which promised to never leave us or to forsake us, even to the “yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil.” Praise God from whom all blessings flow, for our God is bigger than the problems of life.
When I was in boot camp in the Marine Corps, we used to sing a marching song about the inevitability of the next thirteen weeks being out of our control and in the hands of our drill instructors (teacher-tormentors). I cannot sing the song on paper, but the gist of it went something like this:
“Hey Private, no need to be looking back to civilian life because by now your brother is driving your Cadillac, your best friend has stolen your girl, and by the way, private, no use in looking down for there ain’t no discharge on the ground.”
Then, it was kind of humorous. It is a whole lot funnier now on this side of the experience. Maybe if you are having a bad-hair day, you should take out your Bible and read Psalm 121:1-2 and lift your heart in prayer with these words:
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”
One good thing about being all the way down to the bottom is there is only one direction to look and that is up.
King David expresses the reality of the depressed condition because of the circumstances of living in a fallen world. Even though David is a man after God’s own heart, within his breast beats a human heart with all of its frailty. Dear Pilgrim, the King of Israel is a man of like passions. Though so exalted on the one hand to be near to his heavenly Father, he too could fall into the depths of despair. And yet he had a remedy which did not include Prozac or some other mood-altering pill.
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?
hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.”
We can choose what we look to. We can choose to look at the dark side of human existence which is real, tangible, and only a click to CNN away. Or, like David, we can hope in God. By the by, as God lightens our hearts by redirecting our vision to think about virtuous things, life can actually be rather good. One ‘goodness’ I share with you is the birth of my ninth grandchild, Katiyanna Grace Mielke, which being interpreted by her parents means, “angel of grace.”
Now life doesn’t get much better than that for a grandpa. I look forward to holding her in my arms, Lord willing, this Thursday eve. As I hold this little child in my arms, I realize she is going to have a tough road to hoe. But I also realize if she would come to know her Creator God through the gracious salvation of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ she can face hell and high-water and even death itself. She will be able, as the Apostle Paul teaches us, to
“…do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
With Christ, she can live a purposeful life.
With Christ, I can live a purposeful life.
With Christ, we all can live a purposeful life which brings glory to God and contributes to the well-being of our fellow man in spite of whatever comes across our paths.
May we choose to “Look Up to Him” this week.
In Christ’s love,
Pastor John Schofield