2016: Page 353

Page 353 began early with the hope that waiting until this morning to clear snow was a good decision.  As I arrived at work the freshly fallen snow created a reflective surface that made it seem like it was almost daylight.  As I ran the snowblower down the sidewalks, I could tell that the layer of ice was covering the snow and it was being blown out the chute as the snowblower left a clear, bare sidewalk behind it.  That was the outcome I had hoped for, so it was appearing that success had been attained.  While success was had in keeping yesterday’s ice from freezing to the sidewalks, keeping the sidewalks cleared for the morning was another story.  As soon as the sidewalks were cleared and ready for the morning, the lake effect snow bands shifted to the east and settled over the church.  In doing so, the entire property looked like a shaken snow globe.  The beauty was breathtaking and I found myself singing the words of the old hymn, “Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.”  Lake effect snow can add up fast and I found myself working from one end of the building to the other keeping the sidewalks as clear as possible.  By the time I finished the entire length of sidewalk, enough fresh snow had accumulated to need to go back over it again.  I kept at it through the first 5 minutes or so of the worship gathering then went inside to continue my morning worship with something other than “Whiter Than Snow”.  🙂  

During the worship gathering, David continued his sermon series in Luke with a message from the first part of chapter two.  As we looked at the well-known account of the birth of Jesus, we considered two questions that you may, or may not, have thought about — “Why them?” and “Why then?”.  Perhaps you have read the “Christmas Story” and thought about those questions and maybe you have not but I would guess that you have asked similar questions, “Why me?” and “Why now?”, that could be better answered with an understanding of the first two.

It shouldn’t take an intense study of scripture to see that God chooses people for a variety of tasks based on criteria which is very different from what most people use.  I suppose that because so much of my life has been spent not measuring up to the criteria others view as important, I read the story of Mary and Joseph and hear the question, “Why them?”, and immediately think, “Why not?”.  It was the people who chose Saul to be the first human king of Israel because he appeared to the people to look like a king.  Yet God looked beyond outward appearances and into the heart when He chose David to become king after Saul and established His throne through David with a promise of an heir that would reign forever.  While Mary and Joseph met the “line of David” qualification, I’m certain the “Why them?” had much more to do with the heart seen by God than the lineage seen by man.  When God gives us a task to do that seems beyond what people would trust us with, instead of asking “Why me?” we ought to worship God and thank Him for trusting us based on what He can see in our heart.  When I think of the writing assignments God has given me over the past few years, I often find myself asking “Why me?”.  I believe the answer is the same as “Why them?”, God has looked into the heart and trusts me to share the gift He has desired to give, not just to me, but to all mankind.

The second question that may come to mind when we think of the birth of Jesus is, “Why then?”.  The corresponding question we may be more likely to ask when we wonder about the timing of events in our life is, “Why now?”.  Most of us run through life full-speed ahead with little or no allowance for the Spirit of God to direct us in a way that is different from our own plans.  When our plans are disrupted for any reason, we rarely consider the purpose God may have in mind for the change.  Our “Why now?” is often worded as a complaint when we would be better served with a prayer, “Why not now?”.  The Bible makes it clear that the “now” of the birth of Jesus was at just the right time to accomplish the work God wanted done.  God’s view of history is always clear an accurate whether it is past, present, or future history.  He knows “Why now?” and often calls us to trust Hm that the “now” really is for the greater good of the kingdom, and ourselves.  

After church I headed to lunch with my family then it was back running snowblower again, this time at home.  The sun kept trying to make its way through the clouds throughout the afternoon and I contemplated going back to work to clear the walks of all the snow that had accumulated during the morning service.  Contemplated was as far as it got as the house was warm and I wasn’t all that motivated to go back out into the cold.  I will probably regret that decision when I’m having to clear them in the below zero temperatures in the morning, but it was nice to rest a bit during the afternoon/evening.

Today’s photo is one I took last week of a robin in the snow who seemed to be asking those questions we looked at today, “Why me?” and “Why now?”.  🙂

I pray that you and I would worship God in the midst of all our tasks as He reminds us of His love and care.  I pray that we would learn from the lives of the people we read about in the Bible.  I pray that the lessons we learn would be put to use in ways that benefit the people around us.  I pray that we would live with a heart and mind fully surrendered to God in a way that would make us His choice for important tasks.  I pray that we would trust God’s timing in the things He calls us to do.  I pray that our lives would reflect the sanctuary of the living God that we are called to be.

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