A Snow Day of the Soul2
So, I’m watching it snow – in late April. And it’s…..a little disappointing but, ultimately, ok. Because I know that it can’t last. The earth is continuing, undeterred and unhindered, its annual journey around the sun. The sunshine is gaining strength every day and no snowstorm, no matter how mighty, will be able to beat back the inevitable certainty of warmer days.
The Christian life has snow days in Spring as well. There are days when the cold realities of our sin manifest themselves with fresh strength. And it’s disappointing. We had thought we were past “that stage”. We had hoped we were finally done with “those sins”. The warm sunshine of God’s grace had been producing growth and spiritual fruit – but now it’s snowing again. The sad weakness of our flesh has reappeared. And our soul feels cold, covered by a grey cloud of sadness and shame.
Why does God make it snow in late April? Well, it’s not a mistake. It is a divinely ordained function of creation. Snow in April accomplishes specific God-ordained purposes (beyond boosting tourism in Florida).
- God has ordained the seasons to change gradually – for the benefit of all living things.
- Cool weather in April is good for fruit crops. It slows down their development so that the trees are less susceptible to damage from frost.
- Cold weather in April teaches us patience – as we yearn for the sunshine and warmth of June.
In the same way, God has good purposes in mind for allowing ongoing battles with sin. John Newton wrote a classic letter on this topic which speaks of the “advantages from remaining sin”. Here are a few of the “advantages”.
“The gracious purposes [of God in this indwelling sin] . . . are manifold.
- Hereby his own power, wisdom, faithfulness, and love, are more signally displayed: his power, in maintaining his own work (of grace in you) in the midst of so much opposition, like a spark burning in the water; and his wisdom, in defeating and controlling all the devices which Satan, … is encouraged to practice against us.”
- “The unchangeableness of the Lord’s love, and the riches of his mercy, are likewise more illustrated by the multiplied pardons he bestows upon his people, than if they needed no forgiveness at all.”
- “When, after a long experience of their own deceitful hearts, after repeated proofs of their weakness, wilfulness, ingratitude, and insensibility, they find that none of these things can separate them from the love of God in Christ, Jesus becomes more and more precious to their souls. They love much, because much has been forgiven them.”
“In a word, some of the clearest proofs they [Christians] have had of his excellence, have been occasioned by the mortifying proofs they have had of their own vileness.”
If you are experiencing a snow day of the soul, don’t despair. God knows what He’s about. His plan of redemption is marching forward undeterred and unhindered. The present flurries of your sin, though sad and cold, cannot prevent or hinder His promise of eternal summer. It’s coming. We just need to trust – and wait.
Hope in the Lord, ye waiting saints, and He will well provide
For mercy and redemption, full and free, with Him abide.
From sin and evil, mighty though they seem,
His arm, Almighty, will His saints redeem.
(“From Out the Depths”, based on Psalm 130)
In His Service,
Pastor Dale Van Dyke
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