BUIDLING SNOWMEN AND CHARACTER

I am admittedly not fully experienced with winters in Minnesota. Granted, I’ve lived here for 20 years, but I know that’s not long enough to make me an authority on Minnesota winters. Still, to hear it from others, mid-April was certainly late enough in the year that not even Minnesotans should have to tolerate hours of unending snow the likes of which we were experiencing a couple of weeks ago. Very simply, enough was enough!

It Wouldn’t. Stop. Snowing!

Isn’t that the way our lives feel sometimes? “It” won’t stop! The bills won’t stop piling up. The pain won’t go away. The oh-so-irritating spouse won’t give it a break. The children who were supposed to be blessings won’t stay out of trouble.

It Just. Won’t. Stop!

We’re told to be patient. After all, things can’t possibly stay this way forever. To everything there is a season. This, too, shall pass, right? What they don’t tell you is that it might pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.

It always passes. See? The last traces of snow are almost melted already. And the bills will eventually get paid. The pain will eventually be treated. The spouse has to go to sleep and be quiet sometime. And the kids will somehow manage to grow up and surprise us by becoming fairly decent contributing members of society.

So what do we do with the challenge of waiting for things to change? We let it change us. We use it to strengthen us! Romans 5 starts out referring to the peace we have ”with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” which seems absolutely ironic when we’re in a situation that seems to be robbing us of our peace. But he goes on to talk about how we can “boast in the hope of the glory of God” in verse 2.

Then comes the promise:
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment.” (v. 2-5).

So the next time life seems ready to break us instead of give us a break, we will know that we made it through before and we’ll make it through again. That’s when God’s glory shines – when we fail to lose hope in an otherwise hopeless situation because we know that God is faithful. Therein lies our strength.

But you say you feel helpless right now? Paul addresses this, as well.

Verse 6 tells us that “when we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.”

True, in this instance Paul is talking about God’s timeliness in sending Christ to live and die for our eternal salvation, but the Bible is full of references to God’s knack for being right on time. One example I can think of is the parting of the Red Sea. Think about it. If the Israelites had had enough of a head start such that the Egyptians hadn’t been on their heels, the miracle would have lost some of its brilliance. But in God’s hands, the Israelites saw God part the sea just in time for them to get through and to close it just in time to see the destruction of their enemies. Any sooner and it would have been a “convenient” (though no less mind-blowing!) miracle that would have left the Egyptian army scratching their heads, wondering where those pesky Israelites could have possibly gone.

There are plenty of times we ask God, “When, God? When?” Usually, it’s when we think we are about to break from the pressure. It’s always as we’re standing at the edge of our own Red Sea with an army at our heels. Sometimes, it’s simply when we wonder when the snow will finally stop falling, like the other weekend. But remember that God is always on time, and while we’re waiting, we’re getting stronger. And the strength of our hope will display God’s glory!

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