As the old saying goes you can’t appreciate the sun without a little rain. Or some may put it you cant enjoy love without a little pain.
The same can be said about cold weather. You can’t enjoy the heat without feeling the cold. You cant enjoy the warmth without first experiencing the chill.
Lately, it has been down right frigid in Florida. Low temperatures have been getting down in the twenty’s at night and wind chills into the single digits. We even had a few snow flurries in the area this year! Not only that but it has been cold for an extended time frame. Usually it is here today and gone tomorrow, this time the cold weather has been here and has stayed here much longer then usual. I began to think about all of those people who live in the areas that normally expect it to be freezing like my wonderful family in Minneapolis. They have an expectation that it’s going to be cold and it’s going to be that way for a long time! Well, at least until spring comes around again.
In Florida there is a stark contrast. It is true we get cold weather once in a while but maybe just for a night or two and come time for the weekend it will be 70 again and all is right with the world. We begin frolicking on the beaches without a care in the world forgetting our family in Minneapolis or if we do remember them we send them a picture from our phone to rub it in their face.
As I began to think more about it, I was struck with the thought that sometimes in life we are all like Floridians. All we know is heat and warmth and sunshine. Occasionally it gets a little chilly but we know right around the corner sunshine will greet us and all will be well on our sandy beaches. As Floridians, this is all we know (especially if you are a native like me). People who are not native to Florida tend to think I am crazy for wanting snow because they know the reality of living with it day in and day out.
The problem with Floridians is that we begin to forget how to feel. We grow complacent; we grow ignorant of what is really out there. Like a child who is protected most of there life without and any pain or without any punishment. Once this child experiences pain it’s a shock to there system. What is the nickname that children typically have who do not experience pain or punishment? Yep, Spoiled. As a Floridian we are spoiled with this glorious weather year round, while our lovely neighbors to the north become acclimated to the cold and firmly expect it to take hold until the thaw of spring and the warmth of summer arrive. The benefit to our friends and family in the north is that they celebrate like no other when the heat finally arrives. They know the blessing of feeling the warmth upon there skin that comes from the noonday sun in June. They anticipate it all winter long as they endure the prison of winter. In fact, many travel to Florida because they just can’t wait!
Meanwhile, in Florida, we are here living our lives day by day not really noticing anything, We feel warmth daily, sure once in a crazy while it gets cold but like I said before, the warmth returns just like a boomerang. The problem I have found is that we are spoiled and we don’t really know what it means to feel, to long, to anticipate the heat of summer.
The heat I refer to here can mean the weather environment we live in but as I begin to probe my thoughts more I couldn’t help but think about how the heat many times could be looked upon as love. The cold then could be looked upon as pain. Just think about the characteristics of each. Love is usually referred to as warm and embracing. While pain’s characteristics are more synonymous with the cold being described with words like bitter, distant, and harsh.
Returning to my early statements, it is difficult to truly experience or maybe a better word is to feel love without experiencing pain or struggle. If you have no experience of pain or struggle do we really know how to experience and appreciate what love is?
This and maybe this is the reason why there are hardships and difficulties in the world, maybe this is why God allows us to go through times of sorrow or times of grief. Maybe this is why there is winter, so that we may truly experience the anticipation of summer.
Throughout our lives we all desire something that is real and something true. A love that is faithful, genuine, and unconditional. We all long for this to the very core of our being. We search high and low trying to find this love.
Recently, I was out hiking with a few friends and their little boy. The little boy fell down onto some snow and his hands were covered with wet, cold snow. Immediately he began to cry and fuss over the pain and cold he was experiencing. He didn’t know how to solve the problem, all he knew was he was cold and desperately wanted warmth to return to his little hands. His father came over, lovingly kneeled down whipped of the snow and took out the little boys gloves. He blew a few warm breaths into the gloves and placed them on his hands. After this we moved on and that the little boy was content and he may never remember that moment later in his life.
I can’t help but think that this provides us just a glimpse of what our Heavenly Father has done for us. We all have blown it, made mistakes and have not lived up to God’s standards. We all look for redemption somehow or by someway, or with someone only to be left cold again. Just as the earthly father provided a way for his little child to feel warmth again through his love, so to our Heavenly father has given us a Savior through His love.
Unfortunately though, sometimes we are like that little boy who received this love yet walks away and forgets the love of his father. Sometimes we forget what our lives were like before grace, a life of sorrow, guilt, and an empty heart. With grace we have become healed, forgiven, and filled with joy. There are many out there today who have been stuck in the cold, seeking the unconditional love of a Father. Share some warmth with them today. Share with them the Gospel, which brings new life from the bleakness of winter.
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10