I don’t try for a moment to keep it a secret. I don’t like winter! I have no use for it, no patience with it; from my perspective it does me no good. I like to be outside, in the warm sunshine. I don’t like the cold. I don’t like the darkness. I don’t like the gloom. There is nothing about winter that appeals to me. There…I got that off my chest. The snow the other evening threw me into a funk again, and this year we really haven’t even have much of a winter. Even in the midst of my conniptions there is something that I have to keep in mind. There is nothing I can do to change it. About the only thing that I can change is my attitude, and from what you’ve heard already that’s going to be a big job.
Like it or not, there a lot of things that we can’t control or change in life. Now that doesn’t sit well with our human nature…our sinful human nature. We want to be in charge. I want to call the shots. I want things to happen the way I want them and when I want them. Have you noticed that this seems especially true with the youngest of people, like the ones that come to our preschool every day? It also seems to happen to a lot of people who are getting older than they want to be, and even a good number of us that find ourselves somewhere in between. There’s an old saying that goes something like this. “Don’t worry about things you can’t control. Control the things you can, and leave the rest to God.” I’ve tried to live by that wisdom in the last several years, and I can happily report that it leads to a whole lot less worrying. I’m not saying that I’ve mastered this art perfectly but I’m headed in the right direction.
In our Tuesday morning Bible discussions at the Trading Company we have just finished studying the Song of Songs, or, Song of Solomon. People don’t give that book much attention because it seems hard to understand, and some even think that it’s too sexually explicit for open consumption. If we can understand what God is saying to us in it these two problems melt away. The message of Song of Solomon is how much God loves us and what the experience will be like for us when we reach heaven. It’s a beautiful song of love between a husband (Christ) and his bride (the Church…us). At the end of a couple of sections the verse above shows up. “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” In the context of the book this means that we are not to try to force love to take place, just let it happen…not to work so hard at trying to make something happen that we don’t allow it to happen. In terms of our relationship with God there is nothing we can do to make us love him, He already does. Sometimes we try to work so hard to please him, to serve him and his people, or to keep him from being angry with us that we miss out on knowing and feeling the love that He is showing toward us every day and all day.
From my point of view I have to realize that there is nothing I can do to make spring and summer come, or to make them come faster. If I get all worked up and upset about them not being here yet I miss out on the beauty of the sunny days that we’re having right now, and the relative comfort that this winter has given us. Indeed warm days will be here again, just like every year, and they’ll arrive when they arrive. If I’m miserable until that happens I’m the one who will be hurt the most, because no one else will want to be around me.
The bottom line is to enjoy the beauty that God gives us, and to bask in the love that He pours out on us, rather than being impatient for something that we might think is better. The truth is that everything that He has for us is good and for our good. (“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17)