I enjoyed a slow start to a Saturday but eventually got up to go through the photos I took last night and go through the sermon text that I will use tomorrow morning at the North Wayne Mennonite Church. Susan slept in as well, only much later than I did, so once I got her up and around for the day I pulled the grill out to make lunch. It had snowed earlier in the morning but the sun had come out so grilled cheeseburgers sounded like a good plan for lunch before heading to my niece’s wedding. As I got the grill going, the sky opened up and let loose a blizzard-like whiteout of snow! Fortunately I had opened the garage door and the grill was setting just under cover in the doorway as I hadn’t been convinced the earlier snow was finished.
As I watched the snow settle on the truck, the ground, and the flower petals I was amazed at how much of it was falling. I went inside to grab my camera and as I shot some photos of the snow-capped daffodils, I thought about how I respond to the unexpected. I don’t know if the spring flowers expect snow, but it would seem like it would be quite a shock to them. I don’t like many surprises or unexpected things. I don’t even handle good surprises all that well, let alone surprises that are not so good. Once I am used to something, I like it to stay that way and when it is time for something different I like plenty of notice and preparation time. I say “I like” because it rarely happens that way. Much of life is like the unexpected snowfall that we just have to endure and trust that God will get us through it.
At least in my life, sometimes the unexpected is needed because we become so comfortable with our routine that it takes a burst of “snow” to wake us up to the reality of where God is wanting us to be. Many times it has been the unpleasant surprises of life that have caused me to seek God more fully and pay closer attention to what His desire is for me. When it feels like my life is covered with snow and my heart is growing cold, I know the only thing that brings lasting warmth is the presence of God in my life. I can either wilt from a frozen connection to my source of life or I can turn my face to the warmth of God’s Son.
Following my morning lesson and lunch, we headed to my niece’s wedding and reception. It was a beautiful wedding with a deliberate effort to keep God at the center of the ceremony and marriage. There were people at the reception that I don’t think I’ve seen since high school days many years ago. Either I haven’t changed much or they have better memories than I do because a number of people knew who I was and called me by name but I had no clue who they were. When I would find out the name, I could place it with a person from school but typically the person in front of me didn’t look like the person my mind was picturing. Somehow it seems that most of the people from my school days, other than MJ and I, have gotten old! I guess it was a reminder that life moves on. I often say that having Susan as a perpetual child helps keep us young and perhaps I am at least partially correct.
I pray that you and I would always look to God when we are faced with surprises, whether pleasant or not. I pray that we would recognize the need for continual growth in our walk with God and expect the changes that accompany the growth. I pray that when we begin to feel distant an cold, we would turn fully to the One who gives life. I pray that God is always at the center of our life and at the center of all our relationships.