This morning is cold. There is no doubt about it. Very cold. At our home the temperature registered as -14C (6.8F). That’s cold. Not as cold as the Yukon, but cold.
While the cold outside may not be fully appreciated by many of us, who can deny the refreshment of an ice-cold drink on one of those hot, humid days, especially if you have been working in it? Or of a cool rain after an extended dry period? Or ice cream - any time! Today’s outside temperature is just about right for making ice cream. Who can complain about that?
Whatever your climatic preference - whether the tropical warmth of a Caribbean beach or the icy chill of a curling rink - there is value in both the hot and the cold. Whatever our comfort zone, we can’t escape the truth we need them both. Ice cream in summer, hot chocolate in winter. Both can be an exhilarating and refreshing experience. And I think the experience of hot and cold serves to remind us of God’s faithfulness.
God refreshes our hearts. We can be so consumed with spiritual growth that we begin to think of God as the endless Task Master. He wants improvement. And despite our best efforts, there is always room for more improvement. It can be easy to become skeptical and begin to think of God as the insatiable, unsatisfiable, Type-A deity for whom we are never good enough.
Preachers - including this one - can unintentionally promote this distorted view of God. In an effort to exhort to greater passion, or more faith, or a deeper walk, we can inadvertently communicate this message: You are not good enough; what you are doing is not enough; take it up a notch. The motive is good. Even Paul prayed that the eyes of the Ephesian church would be open so they could understand the hope and glorious inheritance that was theirs in Jesus Christ (1:18). But there is a significant difference between growing in understanding of God and trying to be better for God.
It is no wonder Paul prayed that those early followers of Jesus would understand God’s work on their behalf. It IS beyond comprehension. The Scriptures teach these truths so we, having been reconciled to God through Christ, may begin to understand the nature and character of this Creator God who can’t help but love us. This is not a God for whom we are not good enough. This is a God who seeks to redeem, refresh, and renew us. In fact, Jesus said it Himself, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
There is nothing more burdensome than trying to be good enough - whether that is for God or someone else. Thankfully, this Creator God has done all that is necessary so we can find the rest Jesus promised; we can be refreshed. And it starts with faith.
Faith embraces the truth that God is working even though He may be hidden.
Faith embraces the truth that God has created each of us with value and purpose even though we may be confused.
Faith embraces the truth that all of human history is working toward accomplishing God’s purposes even though it appears that evil has the upper hand.
Faith embraces the truth that God will never leave us nor forsake us.
After coming off the ark, Noah offered a sacrifice to God in thanksgiving and confession of his submission to God. God accepted Noah’s sacrifice and promised that the earth would continue to produce its crops, change its seasons, experience the passage of time - not because it is a deterministic system, but because God is faithful to look after His creation (Gen. 8:22). Included in that is the heat and the cold - reminders that God is faithful and is doing a work of faith in each of us.
Stepping into that frosty air this morning? Take a deep breath (but not too deep so you freeze your lungs) and remember - this is the promise of God to be faithful and to work in us so we can live with faith in Him.