(This article first appeared in Calla Press http://callapress.com back in November 2022. Encourage you to visit their site and check them out on Instagram @callapressandkin Great values. Great content.)
If you ever studied Shakespeare in school, this title may sound familiar. It was inspired by Richard III. It came to mind as I was preparing this article. I’m not sure about you, but I have spent many winter days in a discontented state. I’m not a fan of bitterly cold weather littered with gray skies. And please do not get me started on the subject of snow! Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate its beauty and stillness as it drifts down, blanketing the landscape. There is a kind of innocence and purity to it. A gentle silence fills the crisp air as if nature itself has stopped to take in the view. But the next morning when I am confronted by 6 or more inches of the dreaded white stuff that I must shovel to engage with the world again, I am anything but calm or content. I try to convince myself it’s a good workout but to no avail. With each shovelful of snow, my body and spirit grow weary.
Some people wear snow pants; I wear cranky pants.
Wintertime can feel very isolating and lonely. We tend to withdraw and hunker down until the first signs of spring. When I used to work in an office, I often felt I never saw the sun. I would leave for work; it would just be rising. I might catch a glimpse or two of that beautiful, yellow ball during lunch. But by the time I was ready to head home, it was setting. I used to call us mole people. If I didn’t make plans that were taking place directly after work, it was highly unlikely I would be going out at all. Once I got home, that was it. There is no way I’m putting that heavy coat, scarf, hat, and gloves back on to go outside in the now even colder weather. See you in April. We can chat on the phone until then. Now excuse me while I go put on some flannel pajamas and crawl under the covers. Wake me up in three months. The bears got it right. Let the hibernation season commence!
It’s difficult when you don’t see the sun or feel its warmth for a while, isn’t it?
I remember as a child learning that the sun constantly goes through its cycles. Just because we don’t see it due to a cloudy or stormy sky doesn’t mean it’s not there. It rises and sets each day. I struggled to understand how that could be possible. How can such a powerful object seemingly disappear from view? Is it really there if I can’t see it or feel it? And what do I do with myself until I see it again?
Does that happen to you? If there are too many gloomy days strung together, do you find your mood turns gloomy too?
We need the sun. It gives both psychological and physical health benefits. One obvious example is that our bodies use sunlight to assist in the production of Vitamin D, a vital nutrient for our bones and health. We need the sun.
God created parallels between the natural and the spiritual.
Just as we need the sun, we need the Son. We profit from daily sunshine. It helps us in body, mind, and spirit. Isn’t the same true of a daily dose of the Son? But sometimes we can feel as if he’s very far away or not even there. Our hearts and minds may be clouded over with gray skies of thought preventing us from seeing him clearly, if at all. We’re dealing with a major storm of life. The Son seems distant, absent. We don’t feel his love. We may feel cold without his warmth shining down on us. If we stay too long in that place where our eyes are on the storm, and our thoughts are cloudy, we may begin to feel disconnected, discouraged, and discontented.
In nature, you have to wait for the sun to break through the clouds to see it, unless you’re in a plane. I find it fascinating how once the aircraft reaches a certain altitude, you see the sun in and through the clouds. On the ground one might say it’s a cloudy day. It may be raining or snowing. But from your seat, you see the sun. You can even feel its warmth as it streams through the window. In this example, which one of you is correct? You both are. At ground level the weather is unsettling, but up above it’s bright and sunny.
In those times when we feel that he is far away, perhaps we just need to elevate our position.
You know I brought receipts. (Unless otherwise indicated, all verses are from biblegateway.com, NIV, emphasis added.)
“…and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6, ESV)
One of the beautiful aspects of Christianity is God gave us his Word to help carry us through dark days. If you’re feeling in a winter of discontent, open up his Living Word.
Do you want to feel the Son? Elevate your perspective. Seek and get seated with him in high places. Make a daily commitment to spend time in his presence. I realize it may be easier said than done. We all lead busy lives. Scheduling time alone with God can be challenging. My suggestion: start small. Perhaps it means setting the alarm a few minutes earlier or not hitting the snooze button. Be kind to yourself. Set an achievable goal. Once you reach it, move forward. If at first, it’s only 5-10 minutes, that’s a good start. Do you know why? You started. You’re no longer just talking about it; you’re actually doing it. Dedicate each morning to welcoming and thanking him. Open the Bible and ask God to speak to you through it. He will because he loves you and he is faithful. Put on some praise and worship music, if you can. Fill your room, your heart, and your mind with thoughts of him. If you enjoy singing in the shower, let your songs be full of gratitude and praise.
You can and should check back in with him throughout the day but seeking him first thing in the morning sets the right tone. On days when I hit the ground running, I have little peace. It seems like everything works against me. I become irritable and easily agitated. But if I start by joining my church family at 5 a.m. (yikes) for prayer, I may still face a lot of adversity and struggle, but my heart and mind are prepared. My perspective is elevated. I’m not seeing the storm the same way anymore. My seat is high above the clouds. I see the Son.
Remember even when you can’t see or feel him, he is there.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6, ESV)
God is not a liar. Perhaps what you perceive as him being distant is an invitation for you to draw closer. Sometimes it is us who have moved away, not him. He will never reject or neglect you.
Let his name be the first and last words that come out of your mouth each day. A simple way is to say this as soon as your eyes open in the morning and just before they close at night:
Thank you, Lord.
That wasn’t so hard, was it? Start small, but please start now. I’m praying for you. I know you can do it.
Let the Son break through your clouds today and shine brightly over your life.
Until next time: stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know. Stay above the clouds.
Look forward to hearing from you,