Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Don't Waste Your Ice-Storm

I'm sitting here at home because there is a bad ice/snow storm outside, and the weathermen are predicting it will get even worse tomorrow. I read through my old journals earlier, which was a very edifying experience, though I should have written more often! I also did some chores around the house, exercised my mind with Jeopardy, and will read Spurgeon on Christ in the Old Testament or maybe a book on John Newton before bed.

What do you do during an ice-storm? If you have kids, do you play in the snow with them? Do you spend the time curled up beneath the covers with a missionary biography or study on the attributes of God? Do you get those things done around the house that you always meant to do but never got around to it? Do you spend extra time in prayer or in singing praise to the Lord?

There are many good things that need to be done and that can be done while snowed in, but sometimes God uses them to grab our attention in a way that He might not have otherwise. I'm not saying that every snowstorm leads to some spiritual breakthrough (like Job, I haven't seen God's snow-storehouses), but in my own life this has happened two times in a very significant way.

The first was around the time of my conversion. It was 15 years ago this past week. In January of 1994, there were 16 inches of layered ice and snow. It kept the schools closed and Louisville citizens snowed-in for the entire week. While I do not know the exact date the Lord saved me, I remember that God showed me two main things that week. First, He showed me His greatness, in that I was truly awestruck by the terrifying beauty of the weather God sent. On the one hand, it was enjoyable and on the other it interrupted the lives of myself and others. I also saw, as the week wore on, my own impatience as well as the impatience of others. I learned the definition of "stir-crazy." I had the time to think about my own impatience and how it was a sin against the God who commands us to be anxious for nothing. I always prided myself in not falling into the "gross sins" but then the law of God, as the Psalmist put it, appeared to me as exceeding broad. That month, I was to start a class that, in the Presbyterian church, we called "confirmation class." A week or so after the snowstorm, I was in that class, and my youth-leader drew two lines on the board, one representing earth and the other heaven. She then started drawing a line to connect the two and told us tell her to stop where we thought we stood. I remember telling her later (I didn't want to do it in class because of my pride, I guess) that I knew God's standard was perfection and that it didn't matter how good I was because I knew anything less of perfection deserved Hell. That's why I needed Jesus to bridge that gap for me by His obedient life and sacrificial death!

The second ice-storm that God used was in February of 2003. First of all, it came just over a month after the murder of my aunt and uncle, which I blogged about here. Plus, my grandfather had died the weekend before (he had ALS, or Lou Gehrig's, for all the Yankees fans). So my mind was already thinking of the Gospel and God's holiness and our frailty. There were three specific areas that I needed to come to terms with (the myth of the carnal Christian, the sovereignty of God in salvation, and the role of women in the church). But they could all be placed under one overarching theme. I remember specifically praying at one point in my studies that week, "Lord, these things are hard for me to come to terms with, but if it is what your Word says, then I must submit to what your Word says. And I trust you will give me the heart to do so." Even as one who, at the beginning of the week, would have called herself an Arminian, I knew it was God who held my heart in His hands and who would turn it whichever way He pleased. I remember thinking about how, if God could shut down the whole city of Lexington with frozen water, He most certainly would display His power for the good of those who trusted in Him. And I thought about Elijah being fed by the ravens, as I too was in a spiritually dry place (University of Kentucky grad school- lots of people antagonistic to the Gospel there). The pastor of the church I attended there preached from Isaiah 6 the Sunday after the storm, and I could say that is what happened to me the week before. In the words of Spurgeon, God showed me myself and then showed me Himself!

So whenever I am snowed in because the roads are impassable, I know that it's because God might be wanting me go a few more miles down the pathway of righteousness!


At January 27, 2009 at 8:39 PM , Blogger Darby said...

Marie, I love reading your blog... you are such an encouragement to me. That snow is beautiful on the outside and it looks like it does good work on the inside too! Can't wait to hear what He shows you!


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