Reflections by Dot Cutter — January 2019
Christmas is past but many symbols of the holiday remain. My snowmen always linger well into February. Perhaps your Christmas tree is still in place warming your home and heart with its fragrance and bright lights. Though the Christmas tree is not a uniquely Christian symbol but rather one appropriated from pagan cultures, the everlasting nature of evergreens reminds us of God’s everlasting faithfulness in all He does and says. While deciduous trees shed their leaves as cold weather and shorter days encroach, leaving only a barren, empty reminder of the lush shade they provided for many months, the evergreen holds up mightily against cold, ice, snow, and wind, providing camouflage, refuge, and shelter for wildlife. During harsh winters when natural food is buried beneath great depths of snow, the needles provide at least minimal nutrients for deer.
Likewise, God is our shelter, fortress, and strong tower (see Proverbs 18:10) that we lean on when the winter seasons of life, or the tornadoes, or the tsunamis, or the unrelenting drizzles and fogs threaten to overwhelm, engulf, and buffet us. Like the boughs of a mature spruce which drape gracefully to the ground, He shelters us under the wings of His Presence and His Word, providing comfort, refreshment, and encouragement. His Word is sure and through it He feeds us, strengthening us to either rest in place for a time or press on in whatever challenge we are facing. He is always the God of more than enough. But because we tend to be impatient, wanting our solutions NOW, we are prone to wander through our “forest” seeking immediate answers (or changes) when He calls us to settle down and linger in the solitude of His Presence. Jesus already knows our every concern, heartache, and need. Before we speak He knows it all and has an answer and solution perfectly crafted and individualized for each one of us.
The Word of God speaks to us individually and collectively in generalities; but amazingly He unlocks those generalities and tailors them to become specifics for each of us. What a demonstration of His love for each of us! Romans 8:28 assures us that, “God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.” That is a general statement for all believers. But what does He want to say to you or to me each day? I don’t know. Do you? Not unless I spend time with Him, ask, and linger long enough for Him to answer. Jeremiah 33:3 tells us to “Call to me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.” That is an enormous promise that we can declare back to the Lord as we begin our prayer time. However, since He doesn’t provide a timeframe, we have to activate our faith so it can carry us along until the answer comes. Reflect on times when the Lord has been faithful to you, and then review some of the Biblical times when the Lord has been faithful to His people. Chapter 11 of Hebrews provides a fascinating list of those times for a quick, concise, exciting review; and those were mighty acts of His. But first read verse 1 and let it settle deeply into your spirit — “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Through all of their challenges, these ordinary folks who we regard as Biblical giants ACTED and carried on with life in obedience to the Lord; they didn’t sit still and ruminate over their plight. As we enter into yet another New Year, let’s do so in confidence that “The God of all hope will fill us with joy and peace in believing that we should abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
Blessings as we journey together,