Let’s Talk Weather
To me, spring is a delight, summer’s sun is a healing balm, fall’s crisp air and bright skies are surprisingly welcome even though I know what follows, and winter . . . well, winter has Christmas, the New Year, my birthday, snow days, and a beauty all its own. Shall I stop there? After last winter, I think perhaps I should. I don’t want to continue to bemoan the length of it, or the breadth of it, or the height of that snow, but I just can’t help it. It was rough.
I came to a point in early April, as I hurried inside from the unending cold and snow, when I resolved to try to accept the extraordinary weather. After all, who knew when it would end? If this is what God had in store for us, then so be it. It was time to be strong about it. Besides, it was kind of interesting to take part in it. It was a historical winter. I made the decision to stay positive. No more complaining. I would accept God’s choice in this weather.
Not bad, right? Well, I feel like a pretty sad example if that’s the limit of my faith. Granted, I’m talking weather here and not religious anything, but the truth is that’s pretty much how I view life at times. So much is out of my control, but eventually, with God’s help, I’m able to get to a point of acceptance or resolve. And I’ve been proud of this. No more drama, no more kicking and screaming like I used to do. I much prefer this peaceful approach to difficult circumstances. Only thing is, when it comes to spiritual matters, I’m realizing this approach has problems.
Hebrews 5:7-10 says this: “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.”
Evidence here points to a lot of drama during Jesus’ talks with God. Consider that those solitary journeys into the desert and mountains and gardens weren’t necessarily for a peaceful, restful time with His Father. Throughout his lifetime, he needed space and privacy to get messy and vocal in crying out to the one who could save him from death. Also fascinating is that he was heard because he reverently submitted. He accepted the suffering and learned obedience. God in flesh learned obedience through suffering.
Sure, I cry when I pray over things that are really important to me. But I don’t get loud about it. That would be too dramatic. There was that one time about 20 years ago when I was home alone, and I really cried out to God. I’ll never forget that time because it was a life-changing moment of accepting a really difficult reality. And somehow, after that, things did begin to look up . . .
Still, I don’t think that my prayers are at all equivalent to the prayers Jesus prayed. It’s not apples to apples. But could they be? Should they be?
Yes, I think so. Jesus understood the battle for his soul. He cried out to the One who could save him from death. He held nothing back. He created a lot of drama by living with a clear focus. He reverently submitted to the suffering, and his prayers were heard because of his humble attitude. To top it off, he learned obedience that way. I know that’s how God works in all of us; it’s happened to every Christian I know.
Gratefully, I recently came across some verses that have helped me get my mind set on being more Christ-like when it comes to praying and the acceptance of suffering. 1 Peter 1:13 (pardon the King James version but it’s just so good!) says it all: “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
“Gird” in this verse refers to readiness, as when the Israelites ate Passover dressed and ready for their journey, with their gowns tied firmly in place so they could move quickly. Even though I’ve had a few long hard winters in my life, these verses motivate me to get my mind “girded” up again. No more looking for peace and quiet and healing all the time. What also helps me is my amazing friend, Angela, who loves, loves, loves focusing on heaven and pointing others to Jesus. Being around her sharpens me, reminds me how important is our hope in heaven and being with Jesus. I love her for it and I urge you to seek out Christians who will do the same for you.
You know, summer is coming to an end. No need to say what’s coming after the air turns crisp and fields are ready for harvest, right? So I’ll just encourage you, while it’s still summer, to not be afraid of what’s ahead, but rather focus on the delight found in Jesus Christ. Let the Holy Spirit be your healing balm. Cry out some loud and messy prayers to God as you fight the good fight. The circumstances of your life are the battlefield for your soul. The same goes for your loved ones. So share the gospel. Stay obedient. Be holy. Don’t lose hope. The day is coming when Jesus will be revealed as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! He who is Faithful and True is coming soon! Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
by Jill Cristao, Director of Connections Ministries