It’s September. No one wants to think of winter yet…
So why am I posting a story, at the end of summer and beginning of fall, about the blinding cold of winter on the Canadian prairies?
Because I believe the message is vital to all of us all the time, no matter what the weather is doing outside!
The story began on December 23, 2021. It was about 4°C (39°F) when we entered the airport in Ontario, Canada. Our destination was Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to see our younger son and his family. COVID had prevented us from being with our Alberta kids the previous Christmas, and despite the rise of Omicron at the time, we decided that we wouldn’t let anything keep us away this year. And so my wife and I, along with our older son and his girlfriend, found ourselves aboard the plane bound for Edmonton.
The blast of frigid air hit us as soon as the doors to the terminal opened. We were shocked when our son, who met us at the airport, told us it was a rare “warm and balmy” day at “only” -13°C (9°F)! Oh boy. What had we done!
Sure enough, the mercury began to drop, and that Christmas would go down in history as the coldest that Edmonton had ever seen. With wind chill, the temperatures dropped to -40°. And anyone familiar with both Celcius and Fahrenheit knows that at -40, it doesn’t matter which scale you use! It’s just … plain … COLD!
I, for one, wasn’t equipped for temperatures that low, and I quietly resolved that I would be spending the next 8 days … indoors! And I wasn’t the only one, either. I could hear my older son’s girlfriend expressing the same thought…
My wife? Totally different story. Her attitude? There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear. And so it was that when it was time to take our rambunctious grandpuppy out for a walk, she bundled up and headed out. In fact, for the remainder of the visit, she set herself up as the official “dog walker”, and twice a day would find her braving the cold. I’d like to say with an eager puppy in tow, but it was truly the other way around… He would be pulling her!
I could accept this. If she was crazy enough to go out in this bitter cold, more power to her! What I couldn’t take was her insistence that I should come with her, that it really wasn’t “all that cold”, that Alberta cold was “dry”, and it wouldn’t feel nearly as cold as it would back home! She even began referring to the other three of us from Ontario as “Ontario wimps”…
Well her hounding finally broke us down, and one evening, all of us “Ontario wimps” found ourselves venturing out into nature’s freezer. And you know what? My wife was right! It didn’t feel nearly as cold as a similar temperature would have felt back home. Nonetheless, my glasses iced over after about 30 seconds of walking, and from there until the end of that endless march, I was officially blind. Good thing my wife was holding on to my arm! Oh, her glasses froze over as well, but because she can see in the distance without them, her solution was to leave them at home. Me, on the other hand, I am totally blind without them…What I needed was a “de-icer” for my glasses!
Her hounding didn’t work after that. No matter what she said, I … stayed … home!
So where is the “September” message in this frigid story?
It lies in the reason why I only went out for one walk… I couldn’t see! It isn’t fun to not be able to see!
I had been a nominal Christian my entire life. I knew I should read my Bible, but when I did, it was dry. It was … boring. It was an ancient narrative. It didn’t speak to … me! And when people quoted Hebrews 4:12 (“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”), I was totally lost. Why didn’t the Bible speak to … me? And if it didn’t speak to me, then why should I read it? Just like I was blinded by the cold in Edmonton last Christmas, I spent most of my life “blinded” to being able to understand the messages of the Bible. It was like my spiritual “glasses” were “iced over”! So I didn’t read the Bible. Or at least I didn’t read it much.
One day that all changed. God had been working in my heart and I was developing an overcoming desire to know truth. Somehow I felt that the church I as attending didn’t teach 100% Truth, and I wanted to see for myself what the Bible taught. I began to pray for God’s Spirit, and suddenly the “ice” fell off my spiritual “glasses”. New meaning literally jumped from the pages of this ancient book, meaning that spoke Truth into my personal life. In fact, every verse spoke a message to me. And it spoke a different one every day, depending on what message I needed to hear! Suddenly I understood Hebrews 4:12. God’s Word truly IS alive and active!
So how do you keep your spiritual “glasses” from “icing over”, as my physical glasses did in Edmonton? Well I wouldn’t recommend my wife’s method of leaving them behind…Rather, I recommend the perfect Bible “de-icer”: God’s Holy Spirit. Let’s remember that God’s Spirit inspired the writing of the Word in the first place: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV). Who can better help us understand than the Author Himself? And before Jesus left this Earth, He said: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26). This means that God’s Spirit will teach and reveal the meaning of Scripture to Christians in the same way Jesus would.
Is the Bible boring to you? Do you find it dry? Like it doesn’t speak to you personally? Then pray and ask God for His Spirit to “teach you all things” and “remind you of everything [Jesus] said to you”. You’ll be amazed at how you will suddenly be able to see meaning and hear God’s voice through it all.
Oh, and don’t worry about frigid winter conditions on the Canadian prairies… That’s another 3 months away!
In His love,
Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries