We probably remember the old line: April showers bring May flowers, but what do May flowers bring? Pilgrims! What we are hoping and praying for, especially as I write this in mid-April, is that they will bring warmer temperatures. It is now past mid-April and we had snowfall once again! We might be struggling, wondering when (or if) we will experience warm temperatures again.
When I am struggling with feeling down, there are a few things that help me.
First, I turn to the Word of God. I like to read the Psalms to help restore my soul. Paul is also one who often lifts my spirits. “Rejoice in the Lord, always. Again, I say: Rejoice!” And these words written while Paul was imprisoned for his faith. Such hope for those of us who live in the freedom of a nation that allows us to live our faith as we feel God has called us to live. The opportunity to gather around His Word and the Sacraments, being strengthened through our interaction in the Body of Christ, whether we appreciate Traditional or Contemporary worship format, is a freedom of our nation and the freedom God brings to us. Our key is to continue growing through daily interaction with God and through weekly (or more frequent) interaction with fellow Christians.
How many times have you, and many others, turned to the Word of God for guidance? When someone is complacent in their faith (Revelation 3:15-I know about your accomplishments, that you are neither cold nor hot [I wish you were cold or hot!]), God’s Word of Law is applied to convict us and lead us back to Him. When one is troubled, God brings comfort through His Word. Think of the disciples in the room, doors locked, on the day of Resurrection and Jesus standing in their midst greeting them with the words: “Peace to you!” Think of Peter, having denied Jesus three times, hearing those words of restoration on the lake shore—three times! Oh, that the Lord would guide our ways.
Second, I think of hymns or songs that lift me up. Hymns that reflect praise and adoration are often a good place to start. Hymns such as “Oh, Bless the Lord, My Soul” or “In Thee Is Gladness” can be good reflections. Remembering the struggles Jesus faced for us in hymns such as “Go to Dark Gethsemane” also bring me strength and healing. There are so many different contemporary Christian songs that, to begin listing them, I would fall far short. I often have music playing to help brighten my day!
Through the course of history people have, again and again, been comforted and uplifted by song. It reaches beyond the ear. Music affects brain patterns. It can be used to hype a crowd (think of pep bands at sporting events) or bring peace and relaxation. It can be used audibly and has also been used subliminally to guide people.
Third, I spend time alone in my favorite place. Where is that? It is a place that only God and I visit. I can go there whenever I desire because it exists only in my mind. It is always warm there, late spring, summer, or early fall. There is a large oak tree there offering shade. The ground is covered in soft moss. There is a small creek running by. The birds are singing, animals come to the water to drink. It is a place of solitude for me.
As we have faced these colder temperatures we need to remember:
Warmer times are coming! It may not be long before we are talking about how hot it is and that we desire it to be cooler. (Does that remind us of anyone? The Children of God in the wilderness during the Exodus, perhaps?)
No matter how cold it may seem, the warmth of the Love of God does not fail. What do we miss when we choose to miss times of fellowship and the outpouring of His blessings in worship? What blessings did Thomas
miss during the eight days from Jesus’ first appearance to His disciples until He greeted Thomas? What do we miss when we are not fed the nourishment of God’s Word and the very Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus? What
do we miss when we are not there to welcome a child of God into His family? More than we may know.
Stay warm! And, what better way to do that than to celebrate God’s love in worship? See you there!
In Christian love and fellowship,