Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Changing Weather of our Life

     As I was out walking with my husband the other day, I noted how colorful and beautiful the leaves were on the trees.  Here in Florida, we do not experience the wide ranging changes in the season and weather that I experienced in my native Ohio.  However, we do get a change of leaves in late November and into December.  Some trees even bear the most elegant berries just in time for holiday festivities even though the trees are a pest (the Brazilian Pepper tree....it is almost like holly in contrasting colors).  The cloudy day overhead seemed to intensify the colors even more, so despite the sprinkles, I took several photos.
     When I thought about the cloudy day, I could not help but compare it to the changes we experience in the weather of our life.  Some days are sunny, restful, unburdened and full of joy.  There doesn't seem to be any challenges we have to face.  Then, there are cloudy/stormy days when all our energy seems to be sapped as we face circumstances we wish we could live without.  However, it was on a cloudy rainy day that I noticed how brilliant the colors were around me on the trees and plants.  Could it be like this in our life as well?  I believe this is what the Lord would like the world to see.
The Brazilian Pepper tree in bloom in December
     For each of us, it is easy to be a Christian when the times are good and life is going at an even pace.  The question is how brilliant is our light for Christ when the storms come?  Jesus gave us an example of two men and the houses they constructed to protect them from the storms.
     In Matthew 7:21-27 reads:  "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.  And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell, and great was the fall of it."  This is a familiar story to us, but it contains the secret to weathering those difficult times in life that come to us all.
     Jesus indicates that those who hear His words and then do them have a solid foundation that can face all types of weather.  Their lives will remain strong no matter what life throws at them.  On the other hand, those who choose not to listen to the words of life which Christ gives will find that they will not be able to withstand the crippling winds of chaos that come along.  No one - Christian or unbeliever can escape the change that comes with living in this fallen world.  It rains on both the wicked and the righteous equally.  The difference between the two, however, is the way in which each handles life's problems.
     At one point in my life, I was busy raising four young children, caring for my mother who had Alzheimer's and home educating as well.  I certainly felt more than stretched.  Frequent trips back and forth to my mother's assisted living apartment to check on her coupled with teaching four different levels of school for our children left me exhausted.  It would have been easy to put aside my efforts to home school, but I knew the Lord had called us to this task.  Thankfully, my faith and trust in Christ saw me through these days and my house stood.  The cloudy weather that had set into my life made me run to the arms of my heavenly Father for comfort and guidance.    Like the colors of the fall trees against the cloudy sky, my life radiated a difference that others could see.  God  brought out the colors of deeper trust, a steadfast faith, and perseverance despite the hardships by allowing these trials in my life.  He may be doing the same in your life right now.  I am here to tell you that you can survive as I did by putting my life on the rock of Jesus Christ.  His words have life and can see us all through the most violent storms.
     Sunny weather is wonderful and to be enjoyed, but it is only when the storms come that we can see in whom we are trusting.  Our true colors become clear to us and others at these times.  While the time I spent caring for my ailing mother and teaching our children was not easy during those ten years, it made me more compassionate and able to minister to others.  God taught me so much as He walked with me through the valley.  Therefore, I encourage you to allow God to work in and through your current circumstances.  If your weather is cloudy/stormy right now, make certain you are anchored on the rock and trust in Him.  He is able to make us stand firm and reflect His glory.  Selah!

I welcome your thoughts and insights here.  Please share how God has brought you through the stormy seasons of your life.  As we share, we encourage one another in the faith.

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