The prairies that sidle up to the Canadian Rockies feel the brunt of truck-tipping winds, forehead-slapping cold and frequent horizontal snowstorms, but they also bask in sudden rises in temperature when warm winds, called Chinooks, come shooting down the leeward slopes. While folks in other parts of the country are still pulling their heads into their down jackets like sullen turtles, kids in western Alberta ignore their cautious mothers and fling hats and mitts onto soggy piles of snow to dance and play in the sun.
For me, it’s been a long dark winter, with sudden breaks of unseasonable joy. I know God is teaching me to rest in his finished work and to trust that He is the one who wins the victory, but sometimes, when it hurt and when negative words swirled around me like a prairie blizzard obscuring my view, all I wanted to do was retreat my head into my poofy parka and stop feeling for a while.
The problem with blocking out pain is that we also block out joy. James wrote, “Consider it all joy, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
There are times when all I have the strength to do is turtle, to work on endurance. And then there are times when I am surprised by unseasonable joy right in the middle of my winter, when it’s okay to pop my head out again and throw my parka aside.
It’s a wild road, this life with Jesus thing, with ups and downs and sudden turns, but every step is one where He is behind me and before me, above me and below me, and best of all –within me.
God is good father. It’s not all about discipline and learning new lessons. He also likes to play, because what He has done for us is already a done deal.