After an incredibly warm and
unseasonably dry beginning to our winter season, mid-January was characterized
by greening grass and sprouting irises. The warmest winter (if we could really
call it "winter") was well under way.
The weather was the central theme in all conversations, and a quick polling of anyone anywhere revealed that the huge majority delighted in the mild temperatures and the lack of snow. Though a few expressed concern over the abnormal weather patterns, these were ignored or worse, thoroughly shut up by anyone within earshot.
I, for one, was one of the few with the unpopular opinion that the weather was wrong. If the earth were in a state of balance, we would be in the midst of a cold, snowy Canadian winter. Not in early Spring! It was a symptom of how global warming has corrupted our weather patterns.
Then one day, the long-range forecast began making what were considered by many as "ominous" predictions: A winter storm was on the way!
For days on end the weather network warned us of the upcoming storm. It would be preceded by a day of torrential rains, then the temperatures would drop, the precipitation would change to snow, and high winds would whip the white stuff into blizzard-like conditions.
Unfortunately, no one believed the weather network. And why should they? They are so often wrong! But this time they were not wrong. The storm came on exactly as predicted, with exactly the same force that they had called for.
Were we ready?
Not at all. As we awoke that morning to blowing snow, we were amazed to realize that the school buses had not been cancelled. The plows were out, but they weren't salting or sanding, and the high winds were drifting the snow back onto the streets as fast as the plows could clear them.
Needless to say the drive to work was messy and dangerous. I, for one, longed for anti-lock brakes and a standard transmission, to say nothing of snow tires. But as I eased down my street, at what I felt was border-line fast for such conditions, a vehicle raced towards me from behind and then flew around me on that narrow country road.
It wasn't surprising that there were literally hundreds of accidents that day. Even though it was mid-January, no one was prepared for this touch of winter. And the big question of the day, as we all slipped and slid around corners and through intersections was: Why weren't the city trucks out sanding and salting?
My question was a bit different: We had all known this storm was coming! Why hadn't the city been out salting and sanding during the night in anticipation of the falling temperatures?
As I think about this particular storm, many spiritual lessons come to mind. First of all, the global calendar screams to us that Jesus' second coming is near, in fact, it should already be upon us. But no one is concerned. Those who dare make some comments are usually left in cold silence. Have we become comfortable in our sinful world? Does the idea of what is prophesied to happen no longer excites us? Do we even want Jesus to return our lifetime?
The second spiritual lesson is this: Just like the weather network tried to warn us of the upcoming storm, the Bible warns us of the upcoming end of time. Do we even listen? Take them to heart? Do we care? Oh, some of us are more prepared than others. But remember the story of the 10 virgins at the wedding feast? All 10 went to sleep waiting, and only 5 of them had extra oil for their lamps when the bride groom finally arrived!
The final spiritual lesson to be learned from our storm is that just like so many drivers during this storm were in denial about the poor road conditions, refusing to slow their speed or give adequate distance, most in the world is in denial about how bad things will get during the great tribulation. The general attitude is, "Oh, we've weathered bad times before, we'll manage!" Meanwhile, our complacency could be putting others at risk. It could be masking the real symptoms for those who don't yet know Jesus, who could still have time to turn their lives back to Him!
"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut." (Matt 25:1-10 NKJV)
A winter storm is on its way, friends! Will you be excited or discouraged? Will you take the warnings seriously, or ignore them? Are you one of the five wise virgins, or one of the five foolish ones?
I have to say, it finally looks like winter in Canada!
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