OK, it’s official: Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, so there is to be an early spring in 2011. I love the sound of that, but I have to say I’m skeptical. After the winter we’ve had so far I’m thinking that winter doesn’t appear quite ready to give up yet. We’ve carried a blanket of snow since early December, and discounting TV (and seeing football stadiums of mostly astroturf!) I think November was the last time I saw something even resembling green grass. We still have at least a foot and a half of ground cover right now, with more on the way. So I wonder again: Are you sure about that early spring, Phil?
Groundhog Day got me thinking about seeing shadows though, and thinking too, of things anticipated. I am generally an optimistic person, and knowing the Lord makes it easy to keep my mind focused on the positive. (For proof, consider my last blog ‘Little Things’–where I tried to focus on the positive little changes in my health.) I find January to be the most difficult month to get through though, and that was true this year too. After Christmas and New Years I just find January long and cold, and the month usually seems to take forever. February is short though, and goes fast, and March, with its fluctuating temperatures, often gives glimpses of better things to come. So, since we’ve finally left January behind and turned the calendar to February, what shadows am I seeing–or not seeing–now?
Over the last few weeks we’ve had the opportunity to see the darker side of things in this world of ours (consider the situations in Tunisia and Egypt). Like Phil, I wasn’t happy when someone started knocking on my stump to wake me up though, and I didn’t want to come out, either. I was perfectly content to hibernate through the winter months, and I came out kicking and screaming when ‘circumstances’ tried to pull me from my sleep. Unlike Phil though, I’ve only been seeing shadows lately, and anticipate a long and bloody spring. And this from a ‘generally optimistic’ person? What’s going on? In the end, I had to go back to that word ‘circumstances,’ and consider them too. Shadows abound in our world, but that is only because there is a Light to define them. Is there a God in control of this world or not? (I certainly think so.) And if there is, what is He showing us? Not so strangely, my daily devotional for February 3rd supplied this answer:
Trust the past to the mercy of God, the present to His love, and the future to His Providence. Augustine
Sage advice from a sage! ‘Providence,’ as you know, is another one of my favorite words (see September 28, 2010). It speaks of God’s control of not just me and my health, but of the world and its health as well. I can’t forget that, even in times of shadow. I can’t forget either, that God has already given His solution to this and any other problem, and I find His word more sure than Punxsutawney Phil’s. Ephesians 5:1-21 has a lot to say about light and darkness, and therefore addresses such shadows we’ve been seeing as well. Read it like I did, and take comfort in knowing the right way to deal with shadows.
. . . Awake sleeper and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.
. . . for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.