Brrrrrrr.......I'm staring out the window at thick 4-5 foot icicles that look like angry jagged teeth. It's two below with a wind-chill factor of -20. Temperatures will struggle to get above zero today. Although I have to venture out later this evening to attend a wedding, I will be content to sit by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa (I hate coffee or tea). As a native Minnesotan, I have a great deal of respect for cold weather. I don't play around with it. That doesn't mean I don't ever go out in it. I even play out in it. However, I'm always careful to take the necessary precautions and always remember what it can do. You prepare for it and never get overly confident about it or it might hurt or even destroy you.
As a teenager, I didn't check the weather one morning before heading to work. I ran out the door without a hat and walked nearly a mile to work. I had to pass by the grain elevators where the wind can get pretty bad as it whips around them. I didn't know it was -20 and the winds were blowing at a good clip.
A few hours later, I headed back home again. Then it happened. The severe pain set in. The pain was actually good because that meant I didn't have frost bite. I had "just" frozen my ear lobes. I had to go around with my hair piled up on my head as the slightest touch of even a whisp of hair hurt my tender lobes.
I learned a lesson from that experience. Although I recovered, my ear lobes remain extremely sensitive to the cold. I do not own a winter jacket or coat without a hood and I always check the weather!
Every day we venture into a world under siege by the enemy who is trying to destroy us.
"Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)
When I venture out into the cold, I need to be prepared. Sure, I can make a quick run outside now and then and feel like I'm fine. However, just because you feel like your fine doesn't mean you are! Your body is tingling and you're shivering for a reason. You're not "fine". If you continue in that state, you will die. It's that simple.
Being prepared does not mean you will not feel any cold at all. Depending on the severity, you will definitely feel it! However, your covering offers you protection and you will not succumb as quickly to the elements. It doesn't matter how well protected you are if some of you is not under "the covering". The exposed area is in trouble and could possibly be destroyed!
As Christians, we have a covering which cannot be penetrated by the things of this world.
"A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places."
While we have access to God's armor, the words "put on" implies that action is required on our part. I can have proper winter gear but if it remains in my closet, it will not do me a bit of good. If I'm not wearing it properly, it won't do me as much good as it would if I was wearing it as I should.
We have access to everything we need to live victoriously and do whatever God asks us to do. It's up to us to use it!
Wonderful analogy and illustration, thanks! I have been blessed by your blog today. Here in the Atlanta area, we dipped down into the 20's last night and now are struggling in the 40's. Your weather puts mine in perspective!
Thank God, we are in a state south of you--it's a balmy 16 degrees in Illinois! January 1st is a good day to polish up the armor and prepare for another year of fighting the good fight. The Lord has given us power to be victorious through the next 365, regardless of what the world throughs our way!!!
God bless and have a great 08!
I had to chuckle after reading your comment, Craig. My husband and I were wandering around Illinois just last week. We pretty much traveled across northern Illinois as well as the length of western Illinois. My exact words to some of his relatives as well as a friend were "I love the balmy weather you're having here:)
Then you have seen a bit of Paradise. Did you go along the river? We live in a small town about an hour north of Quincy. What "cities" did you visit? btw, I do alot of wandering around western Ill as well!
We were going around a Wisconsin blizzard so we ducked down under it by heading further south and crossing Illinois through the Quad Cities, Peoria and Champaign before heading into Indiana. My husband has relatives in to the south in Robinson and then we spent a couple of days in Chicago.