A few weeks ago, the beautiful rolling hills of the North Carolina foothills were blessed with snow. Not the two to four inches predicted by our spot on Meteorologists, but eight wonderfully fluffy fun filled inches of the white stuff. And while some folks probably spit from utter frustration, the fact that it was a Saturday and we hadn’t seen the frozen crystals in a while made for some authentic excitement.
So what did we do in response to our icy gift? I had always been taught work before play so we got out the snow shovels and went about carving paths through the driveway until we had the pavement cleared enough for the sun to take over. Next was fun time!
Our daughter and son-in-law had taken our granddaughter to “reintroduce” her to the frozen fun. None of us had sleds so I pulled out a boogie board from the garage as a makeshift sled. We proceeded to pull little Crystal up and down their driveway. Meanwhile, Grandma got momentarily blessed with a spark of childhood and fell backwards into the snow, making inanimate snow angels in the yard. During this flurry of activity, the cell phones were out in number, recording these events. I had my phone camera at the ready as well and was capturing different snow scenes when I snapped the one reflected above.
The snow laden statue in its’ current state seemed too familiar. Of course this WAS our statue, named after our daughter, Alison, in our own yard, but there was something else. I’ve seen people throughout the years look exactly like this and I have experienced it myself. But it wasn’t snow weighing heavy upon their shoulders; it was layers of burdens. For just like that statue, sometimes we get so “snowed under” with the very burdens of life, we are frozen in place from fear, grief, pain, worry, doubt, addictions, sin and/or despair. And just like that statue, sometimes we allow the burdens to become so great and we get buried under to the point of not being about to see clearly or hear distinctly.
Of course our mouth is still unhindered and we find ourselves uttering all kinds of cursing and exclamations as we furiously shake our fists at the sky and declare, “I didn’t deserve this!” “Why me Lord?” “Why am I being tested like this?” “Why did God allow this to happen to such a nice person?” I’m afraid I am short on answers but here’s a question for you…why not? If you are human (and I bet every one of you reading this actually is), you WILL have a mixed nut variety of good times and bad times that stirred together, add up to…well…life.
God didn’t promise anyone an easy life or even another hour; He only promised that He would be there with us in the midst of the good times AND the bad times. I think the following may sound familiar to most of you: The 23rd Psalm (NIV) says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Somewhere along the lines, I think we may have forgotten that God truly is our heavenly Father and we need to lean on Him totally, giving all of our burdens to Him and trusting that He is ALWAYS looking out for our good, not for our wants necessarily but our needs. Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT) reflects, “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
When we truly give our burdens to God, you can practically feel the weight lifted from your shoulders. Relief melts away the fear and dread of our burdens as we allow Him to put life back into its’ proper perspective. There’s an old hymn chorus that reads, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” (Trust and Obey by John H. Sammis, 1887) One of the verses says, “Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies, but His smile quickly drives it away; not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear, can abide while we trust and obey. Such truth in this refrain! For even when the storm clouds of life seem to linger, we know the sun is still shining and burns away the doubt clouds of our hearts.
So the next time you get hit alongside of your head with a snowstorm of worries and you find your joints beginning to cease up from fear, just remember that God is as close as your next heartbeat and the whispered plea from a sincere soul. He can melt your doubts and give you direction as long as you trust…and obey…
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. Ephesians 3:16-18 (NLT)
“Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 20:20 (NLT)