The prediction of a significant mid-week “blizzard event” has indeed come to pass and is in progress. As the snow piles up on our deck ledge, pushing upwards of 9-10-11 inches in stature, I am enjoying the view from inside, sitting close to the warmth of the fireplace.
Just twelve hours earlier, at midnight, I had been lulled to sleep by the steady and relaxing sound of rain falling on the deck, the roof, plunking on the outside metal BBQ. As I drifted into a wonderful rest, I unexpectedly recalled the words to a mid-80’s song whose first line was, “It’s beginning to rain, hear the voice of the Father….” The gentle, relaxing melody had whispered me into slumber.
In quick curiosity I looked up the title of the tune and discovered it was a Jimmy Swaggart creation, made perhaps more famous by Bill Gaither a decade later, when I had first heard it. The second line invites, “Saying whosoever will, let him drink of the waters, For He said, ‘I will pour My spirit upon your sons and daughters.’ So if you’re thirsty and dry, look up to the sky, it’s beginning to rain.’”
And as I looked out the window at the fierce downpour of wind-whipped white, I had the whimsical thought, I’m so glad God doesn’t offer us His Spirit as a snow storm instead of a gentle rain.
At first I chuckled at the rather fanciful comparison. Then, as I thought about it, an ah-ha moment of sensing divine wisdom arose. The word that came to my mind was avalanche.
Colorado’s winter-into-spring transition has already birthed a significant number of avalanches due to radical temperature swings: 28-degrees and snow one day, 60-degrees two days later, snow and 28-degrees two days after that. Freeze-thaw-freeze….and then a white cloud billowing dramatically into the air when an avalanche is triggered and sheets of snow recklessly plunge down the mountainside.
This cycle of nature and the intervals of stress-ease-stress in our own lives forms a pretty good parallel. Oftentimes, the triggering point in our lives is just as unexpected – and with little warning, here it comes, a significant emotional slide that leaves us bewildered and sometimes displaced, wondering just-what-happened and facing the uncertainties of what-comes-next.
This is not a back-slide, mind you…but a slide layered by frustration, unmet expectations and exasperation when the things we think we know about God’s nature, His transforming power in our lives and on this earth appear stymied, nullified, thwarted despite our prayers and anticipation of results.
In I Thess. 5:24, Paul teaches, “Faithful is He who calls you and He also will bring it to pass.” (NASB) The Message translates that verse, “The One Who called you is completely dependable. If He said it, He’ll do it!”
That’s not a bad place to securely hang your hat, once you’ve gone through the effort to retrieve it from the snowfield.
The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition offers a rendering that is the most thought-provoking to me: “Faithful is He who is calling you (to Himself) and utterly trustworthy, and He will also do it (fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you).” (I Thess 5:24)
I admit it – I have never spent much time thinking about the specific intent of my heavenly Father hallowing (setting aside for holy use) and keeping me expressly to fulfill His goal that my ears and heart would be open to hear, respond, embrace His persistent and loving call.
In similar theme, Hebrews 12:2 describes Jesus as “the author and perfecter of faith.” (italics added)
What encouragement and hope to strengthen ourselves in Him! In I John 3:2, we are reminded, “Beloved, now we are children of God and it has not appeared as yet what we will be.”
We are creations in process and He Who saw us before our beginning, also sees us beyond our life on this earth. That fully includes those times before the avalanche, after the avalanche, and – especially — during the avalanche. It is unlikely we can fully declare our lives a “No Avalanche Zone,” and Jesus warned those who listened, “In the world you have tribulation. (John 16:33)
He did, and we do. And He encourages us to “take courage; I have overcome the world.”
His Spirit gently sends us His comfort, loving reassurance and guidance in the soft kindness that mirrors rain, not the chilling touch of snow. It is a metaphorical rain that melts the frozen and hard areas of our hearts and lives and allows us to firmly embrace and stand in the security of His Love.