skifts of snow

The first skift of snow was waiting in the morning light yesterday.  It sketched slender blades of grass and single leaves with little hints of winter’s chill and the promise of an arctic blast not far behind.  A shift has taken place whether we welcome it or not.

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We’ve all felt the brush of circumstances piling up or pushing us beyond what we’ve once known and enjoyed, sneaking up on us with the stealth of a silent snowfall as we’ve slept in expectation that the next day would look pretty much like the day before … but it didn’t.

A family member died.  A congregation encountered an unexpected crisis.

Life altering experiences sometimes fall upon us with little or no warning and move us into new seasons of life, prepared or unprepared.

We may be slightly disoriented when what once was becomes obscured by only little glimpses of what is yet to be whether in our personal or more public life of leadership. A skift of new realities settles over us during dark nights of uncomfortably imposed compliance with that which we do not control or desire.

An unwelcome diagnosis is given.  Something happens and a relationship is severed.

There is loss.

We may shiver with uncertainty in times when we are forced to find our way in unfamiliar new situations.  In reliance on ourselves when coming to terms with unexpected northernly winds of change, we may not put on the winter hats and gloves of a father’s care waiting to be known, not yet ready to embrace his purpose in this strange land. Acceptance may not happen overnight.  But lightly powdered fields of snowy transition remind us that the time is always right to move the down-filled parka of his enduring word to the front of the closet waiting to be worn as warmth and shelter in the midst trying times.

The crisp cool wind of the Spirit blowing through such moments in our lives has the power to clear our hearts and minds so we will learn to better experience his presence in deeper trust.  He is ever ready to do an inner work of gracious spiritual formation as we rest beneath the weight of what has befallen to know his steadfast love renewing us under blankets of inconstancy. These surprising new scenes which at first seem so coldly unnerving may just become the agents of grace developing necessary layers of insulating inner strength against the deeper cold of future winter assaults, etching and shaping our character and depth to withstand storms yet to be.

Was there snow on your windshield this morning?  Our heavenly Father knows.

Although it may seem as though we stand in still isolation in wintery gusts of drifting difficulties, we are not alone in the rude awakenings of challenging days.  We are invited to scrape away the crystals of confusion and see the face of Jesus shining clearly, calling us forward into the beauty of what is at first disconcerting yet eventually becomes crystal clear:  ‘All things work together for good.’

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5: 1-5)

‘Lord, for those who feel the sudden cold of disappointments or loss, frosty relationships or surprising circumstances which have chilled them to the bone in recent days, warm them from the inside out as they clothe themselves in you.  

Help us wake each morning in confident trust that nothing takes you by surprise:  difficult conversations yet to be had, diverse conditions, draining commitments, or devastating changes of in the course of our lives which cause skifts of sadness to swirl around our souls.   

Every morning, you are there to melt away the frosty pain as we shield ourselves in the warmth of your love shining into our hearts by your Spirit.  That’s all we really need to know.  Amen.’

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