Wow! Winter seems to be holding on with all it’s might. As I was standing at the door this past Sunday before worship, one of the men said to the group that was standing there, “Well, winter was late getting here, but man it’s holding on for dear life now.” That seems to be so true. I have tried to remember a year when we have had bad weather weekend after weekend after weekend. It just seems like we get rid of the snow from one weekend only to get ready for some more the next weekend, or warm up during the week to have it plummet over the weekend.
In my trying to remember of those weekends winter storms, I also started thinking about Spring. New life, the green grass growing, the flowers coming up, the longer days, the birds chirping, the squirrels playing (well I could do with less of those). It reminded me of growing up and one particular Spring day. I can’t remember if it had been a hard winter or not, but I’ll never forget the Spring day. I had awakened early in the morning because the sun was shining through the window into my room. We were living in the parsonage at the time, here at Columbus West. No one else was awake, so I quietly slipped out of bed, got dressed in jeans, a t-shirt and put on a flannel shirt. I was expecting it to be chilly outside. I was ready to head out and start my day of running around the neighborhood. Maybe my friends would be over to the church yard and we’d play a game of football, or baseball, or just bike around the neighborhood.
I snuck outside so that no one would hear. The sun was warm and I knew quickly that I wouldn’t need the flannel shirt. The month was April and it hadn’t been warm that long. I took of the flannel shirt and put it on the back porch and started gathering some things that I thought I might need for the day, football, baseball glove, bike, etc. I then took a walk around the church and let me tell you I was getting quite warm. So, off came my t-shirt. I remember the sun feeling good on my face and my back. I knew that we’d have some weeding to do in the flowerbeds before we could mess around, so I started in the back bed. There were flowers already in the bed along the back of the house and they were starting to bloom, probably four o’clocks. It was hard to weed in there as they were so thick. However, i knew my younger brothers wouldn’t want that bed and that I’d probably end up there anyway, so I got started. In no time I had worked up a sweat and decided to go in and put on some shorts.
Again, I went in really quiet and changed and snuck back out again. No one stirred. I got to work and was about half way down the flowerbed when the booming voice yelled out the window at me, “ROBERT, where’s your shirt?” When I stood up the voice got louder and stronger, “And where’s your long pants? Do you think it’s summer out here. It’s still winter. Get in here and put your jeans on, get a shirt on. You’re going to get sick.” Off I went to change yet again.
That got me to thinking about the Lord and the Holy Sprit. You know we go through life and we think what is best for us. We want to do all these fun things, play football, baseball, basketball, ride our bikes, etc. So, we get up out of bed and get dressed to do it. We start to think that we know what we need to accomplish the situations in our life. We think we’re okay without the flannel shirt, or the t-shirt or even the jeans, because we’re warm or maybe even sweating. Things are going well. Things are going alright. Things are happening. The works getting done. Life is good. But we’re heading down a path with dangers that we can’t see. There’s something up the road that we’re not prepared for.
You see, that’s when the Holy Spirit starts speaking to us. “Robert, get your shirt on.” My mother knew that there was a chance that I could get sick from being out in the chilly morning with no shirt on. She knew the dangers of what I was doing by taking my shirt off. I hadn’t thought it through. I wasn’t using my brain to think it through. I was just enjoying the warmth of the sun, the beautiful morning and trying to get the chore done so that I would have the rest of the day to myself. The God knows what lies up ahead of you. He knows the problems of bad decisions. He knows the illness that is around the corner. He prepares us for those times. He makes a way for us to be stronger now, so that we can face them, go through them, and endure them and grow through them. The difference that we have with God that I really didn’t have with my mother is that we have a choice. You see I had to go in the house and change. With God you have a choice, you can keep doing what you’re doing, or you can listen, hear and then be obedient to what He says. That’s up to you. He created you that way. He made you that way. I’ll tell you this, life is much simpler and much easier if you listen, hear, and obey, just saying. Oh, and by the way, my mother appreciated the work that I had done, but that wasn’t the chores for the day. However, since I had done that I was free to head off and do what I wanted, I just had to be back in time for dinner. My how things have changed.
Follow the leading of the Spirit and enjoy Spring.