I love the winter. Even though I know I’ll inevitably complain about it being cold, I still love the winter season. What makes the cold worthwhile is that, for most of us, we have a warm place to stay while we watch the chilly air brush against the falling leaves as the season comes closer. When the snow finally gets here we may go outside and shovel for a couple of hours and when we go back inside we’ll expect to be chilled to the bone. However, the longer we sit and defrost inside our homes the warmer and more comfortable we will get. I cannot think of anyone who would step inside from the frigid air and expect to be warm and comfortable instantly. We recognize that it takes a moment to adapt to the warmth of the room, to climb out of our snow-soaked shoes and to rub our hands together over the heat vent. It’s all part of the process of experiencing the room. We let the room change our temperature and we’re thankful that its not the other way around. We let the warmth affect us.
Lamentations 3:57 says, “You came near when I called you, and you said, “do not fear.”” What is most remarkable about this passage is its placement in the book of Lamentations. If you aren’t familiar, this particular book is an extremely solemn work of poetry. Only a few verses in the middle of chapter three bring a glowing light of hope against the bleak background. The people of God are in exile after a terrible series of events. You could say they are cold, with no cloaks or tunics in which to bundle themselves. Yet the author exclaims, “You came near when I called you, and you said, “do not fear.””
Prayer is an experience of transformation. God did not respond to the situation by immediately setting His people back on the hills of Jerusalem, he did something grander – he drew near to them and said, “do not be afraid.” Often we think of prayer as a quick remedy rather than a room wherein we meet with our God for true personal change. When we set aside even a moment, our Lord tells us to shed our cold, damp, coat and warm ourselves in his fire. We need not fear the unknowns or dismal winters of our life because he is our shepherd through the shadows. Together his church looks to the day when we will be given a new robe and take joy in the winter because we have warmth in our Father’s house. Let’s take time today to warm ourselves in the presence of our Lord with prayer that changes us. We can go back outside with joy that he hears us when we call to him and that he assures us: “do not fear!”
Pastor Chris Osterbrock
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com