Monday, November 12, 2012

Being prepared

I live in southeast Minnesota and our weather has changed dramatically over the last two days.  On Saturday it was unseasonably warm, reaching 73 degrees.  That was really nice however a change in the weather was in the works as the sun set.  Yesterday’s warmest moments were in the early morning, when it was in the high 30’s and a light rain was falling. 

And this morning?  Well, let’s just say that winter is pretty much here now.  There was no snow when I got up but the temperature was in the low 20’s.  I had set out clothing last night to wear when running this morning, clothing based on a forecast into the low 20’s.  So I stretched a bit, got dressed, and headed out the door. 

There was a light breeze as I went down the driveway and out onto the street.  A quarter mile from home the road turned a bit and I felt the wind with greater intensity.  This, being the beginning of my 27th Minnesota winter, was not exactly welcome but also not exactly unfamiliar territory.  Over the next few months I expect to run in weather much worse than what was out this morning, the kind of weather that will make me long for today in the same way that today I had a longing for the warmth of two days ago.

A mile-and-a quarter from home and the road turned again, so that I was basically running into a steady headwind.  I later learned that the wind speed was close to 20 MPH, with gusts of 30.  My original intent was to run to a point four miles away from home and then turn around and head back.  My face was cold and I was beginning to think that perhaps a face mask would have been a good thing to have.  And while my face was cold, it was my hands that felt colder, to the point that I considered turning around early.  I had dressed for 20 degrees, but not a windy 20 degrees. 

A number of years ago I developed the habit of opening and closing my hands in coordination with my pace when running in winter weather.  Open-and-close the right hand twice.   Then the left hand twice.  Repeat.  And repeat again, until the run is over.  It is a method that keeps blood moving in my fingers and keeps my hands warm.  It works well, when I have the right mittens or gloves on my hands.  And today, running into the wind, I certainly did not.

My face was cold.  My hands were cold, and getting colder.  Then I reached the point in the road four miles from home and I turned around. 

What a dramatic change!  Still cold, but also very calm.  When the wind briefly gusted it felt like a tailwind, something that was moving me towards home without really making me feel any colder. 

And this Bible verse, 1 Peter 5:8, came to mind:

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

I thought about how running into the wind this morning was similar to living during times of adversity, times when we know we are best off staying grounded in the Bible.  There are seasons of life that can be so turbulent that God’s word is the only place we can find refuge. 

But those seasons don’t always last.  They may be unpleasant, they may be long in duration, but they will also pass away into more peaceful times.  And as that happened in my run, as I turned from running into the wind to running with it, I was reminded that while it was now much more peaceful I still needed to be mindful of the overall conditions. 

I still needed to open-and-close my hands to warm them up.  I still needed to watch for debris on the roads.  I still needed to be mindful of cars going by me. 

The words of Peter aren’t a call to live in constant fear as we navigate life.  They are a reminder to be mindful of God and the promises of His word, promises that are our sure place of rest and refuge, no matter what the season of our life.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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