A snow storm is coming, be cautious! Quick, get all the bread in the stores, purchase all the food you can and store everything for the next few days. It is the 7th of January 2015, and it seems that everyone started panicking having heard the news of the imminent snow storm. With no one coming or going, life all of a sudden has become paralysed… No schools, no colleges, no work. It feels really cold and icy, a serious inconvenience for many people, especially the widows and the elderly.
Whilst in this part of the world, we are very blessed to have roofs over our heads, moderate heating and food in our homes, you can still feel restricted by having to stay indoors during this extremely cold weather. And when you are sitting close to an electric or gas heater and the electricity suddenly fails, plunging everywhere into darkness and severing your internet and smart phone connections, you feel very isolated.
What do you do with that time?! Pray? Maybe yes, maybe not… People immediately start looking for gas lamps or torches to bring in some manmade light. Sure enough, it is difficult to see anything or anyone at this time.
It is in the midst of this darkness that I was reminded that it only takes a single light to dispel the darkness, for “the darkness cannot comprehend it” (John 1:5). Jesus is the Light of the world. This is an image we tend to forget about until we find ourselves in any sort of literal or metaphoric darkness. Not only I was reminded of the Great Light, the gift of Heaven to mankind, but also – given this cold spell – one of the most powerful snow and rain images in the book of Isaiah came rushing to mind:
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55: 10-11).
In this verse God is speaking through nature. There is a purpose for the rain and snow that come down from heaven and in the same way there is a purpose for what God is doing through His word. God wastes nothing: not one drop of rain, not one snowflake, and not one spiritual seed sown in His Kingdom. If we believe, seeds of faith will grow and bring a plentiful harvest.
There is no better time than the beginning of this year and season, to ask God to make us diligent sowers of his Word. His Word is the only hope for this country and the rest of the Arab countries that are currently in turmoil. Here in Bethlehem, we are in our homes but many refugees are in their tents in Gaza and elsewhere in the Arab countries.
Here in Bethlehem many of us heard and know the truth, but many of our family members, neighbours and friends elsewhere have not. We have Jesus in our hearts and lives, but the devil is reaping the precious hearts and lives of many people around. We cannot and should not be bystanders and onlookers with all that is happening. We have to be faithful and diligent stewards in everything, at all times: “In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good” (Ecclesiastes 11: 6).
At this snowy, icy, rainy and windy season, and as many people are hungry for the physical bread at this time, may we remember not only to keep our stomachs full, our bodies warm, our laptops and smart phones charged, but also to desire and work for the eternal bread, whilst we still can. May this new year, winter, spring, summer and autumn be for the Lord in every sense of the word.