Jogging in 50 degree weather on a New England winter day? This was quite the mild winter despite our spring snow day. Rounding a local street recently on my run I stopped to chat with a tree trimmer working in just a flannel shirt and jeans, eyes shaded with sunglasses because of the brilliant sunshine. He shared with me how he deliberately takes time to be grateful for days like this to help him get through his times of outdoor work on the frigid ones. Instead of complaining when the temps are biting he is super thankful when it is unseasonably warm. Then when the weather is inclement he reminds himself of the mild times and is hopeful for the future good days to come. He remarked if every day were sunny and 50 degrees in the winter we would take it for granted and not feel the special joy of this beauty.
In January Sid and I went to Aruba, almost always 81 degrees with a sea breeze and 81 degree beautiful Caribbean blue water. But for us these summery conditions were special to break up the usually severe winter weather at home. It was a mild winter but not 81 degrees! For those who live in Aruba all the time, each day is so beautiful it becomes expected. It’s hard to be reminded of how special something is when we have it all the time unless we purposefully think about what a blessing each day is. And even the cold winter days are a blessing depending on our perspective. Just ask the skiers how they felt about this winter when what they may take for granted as a New England winter didn’t happen. Remembering the good ski days of previous winters gives them hope for next year’s snowy days.
Earlier this week when it was sunny but with a stiff breeze and cool, I noticed what a difference it made if the sun was blocked by a cloud. There was just one little cloud that day and as the sun went behind it, the temperature felt like it dropped 10 degrees. When the sun emerged from behind the cloud moments later you could feel warmth radiating intensely, piercing the cold. In truth the temperature hadn’t changed much if at all but the light and warmth of the sun made it feel like a cool spring day rather than a chilly winter one, the peeking in and out of the sun from behind that small cloud a reminder of warm spring days soon to come.
Our Abba is always there even when we don’t see Him or show our appreciation for Him. Just as the passing cloud temporarily hides the sun from view, there are times in our lives when it seems that He is less apparent to us than at other times. It may be harder to feel Him in our lives as when the cloud blocks the warmth, but the truth is He is with us. When life gets tough, as the breeze stiffens on a cloudy March day, just as the piercing sun through the cloud disperses the coldness by its intensity, so too are we warmed by His light. We are reminded of Him by noticing His interaction in our life. Or we can draw on a memory of better times. To purposefully acknowledge His presence during the good times helps to remind us of His light through the cloudy days just as the tree trimmer remembering his gratitude of the warm days helps him through the cold ones.
A small fluffy cloud, just as a closed eye, can keep Him hidden from us if we allow that to happen. It only obscures our view of Him, for He is radiating His love and He is constant. We just can’t see Him. The cloud is as the challenges: dark choices, closed mindedness, diverters in our path, impediments to our seeing Him, loss of faith. And in our lives, sometimes the cloud is not small and passing, but rather, may be as a completely overcast sky.
Not only on the sunny days, but also on those cloudy ones, I encourage you to seek Him. The hard times give us a perspective for appreciation of the good times. Try to remember when you felt His love deeply and be reminded of those times when you are having days of challenge, for behind every cloud is our Abba ever constant. And when He pierces through the darkness to tangibly reveal Himself in those many ways He does, may you not be wearing your sunglasses.