I woke this morning to the petrified reality of a -40 wind-chilled dawn. A day, as my Dad used to say, not fit for man nor beast. These moments are always much better considered from the cozy vantage-point of one’s bedroom window, as opposed to struggling vexatiously in the great outdoors to get an immobilized car started. When the Extreme Cold Warning bar is running with scarlet ferocity along the top of the Environment Canada weather site, it’s time to surrender your battle with the elements. Unless you’ve got a life-and-death mission you can’t get out of, forget it! This is what is fondly known as a snow day.
When you’re a kid, you live for these freebie days of school cancellations. Remember that wonderful reveling you enjoyed realizing that there are powers able to over-ride parental and scholastic machinery? There’s deep joy as the day lies gloriously before you like found treasure. This enforced leisure has unique potential for delight; defying a whole list of responsible things you simply cannot perform. What do you feel like doing? Delicious! Truthfully? As adults, we could all use a few more snow days.
A large component in the idiocy of modern life is the belief that you can continue indefinitely at a completely asinine pace and suffer no repercussions. The world is drinking the Kool-Aid that they are some kind of demi-gods, sustained by a virtual world and flouting all natural parameters. Don’t you know you can do anything? You can be anything you want to be! Climb every mountain…forge every stream…decimate every barrier, etc, etc. Bosh.
Contrary to the mindless, frenetic, relentless production of Babylon’s grind, there’s high wisdom in knowing when to stop and surrender to the natural flow of events. You are not God, so stop trying to act like it! Humility recognizes the futility of overwhelming odds. Sagacity learns to surf the wave flowing at any particular moment. Prudence maximizes current conditions. Faithfulness understands the silver linings in the most vicious of storm-clouds. Sometimes, it’s brilliance to simply stand still.A passive stance is often a highly underestimated tactic in the overall strategy of life's on-going warfare.
In the Old Testament, many times, Israel was engulfed by difficult circumstances, hateful enemies and ridiculous odds. As today, their enemies surrounded them on every side. At one such time, two nations, Moab and Ammon, united to attack them. Terrified and overwhelmed, King Jehoshaphat cried out to God, reminding Him of His promises and protection. He freely confesses
O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You. 2 Chron 20:12 NKJV
Not exactly the accepted standard of warfare for his day, but Jehoshaphat understood more than most. He led his people in a truly magnificent manner, although I’m sure the pagans would not be impressed at his strategy. Apparently, the Lord liked it a lot though, because this was His answer.
Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you,
King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you. 2 Chron 20:15-17 KJV
Countless times, life hands us situations where we are hopelessly and entirely overpowered. Lord allows such seasons to come to us for this very reason exactly: that we will surrender our predilection to act the way the world does. Instead of marshalling our meagre resources in panicked confusion or presumptuously and pridefully attempting to combat all contrary conditions, faith takes a heart-beat to slow down, command self-control and meekly invite God into the equation. As Jehoshaphat did, it’s perfectly fine to admit we don’t have it all together; in fact, we’ve been caught woefully flat-footed and are now in a bit of a pickle. For whatever reason, we didn’t see it coming, and realize we are way, way out of our league. The name of the Lord is a strong tower, and we are encouraged to run into it!
One of my favorite movies of all time is “The Hunt for Red October”. It’s a study in the mastery of tactical warfare. Sean Connery in his prime captures Marko Raimus, the brilliant submarine captain attempting to defect with a Soviet prototype containing radar-defying hardware which would radically alter naval power. In the course of the movie, we are introduced to a maneuver the Soviets invented, fondly termed by the Americans, a“Crazy Ivan”. As a submarine cannot detect anyone following within its baffles (sound of engines at the rear), it is beneficial to do a hard turn right or left, every once in a while, circling sharply and suddenly, to expose concealed pursuers. Anything following too closely will collide right into you. Here's a little ploy with profound spiritual application.
The enemy likes to stay in our baffles. He knows where our blind-spots are, and the rhythms of life that keep him concealed from our view. Every now and again, it’s salubrious to pull a spiritual Crazy Ivan; to turn suddenly, even slightly erratically from our usual course. Stop all engines dead in the water, look around, and just float silently for a moment. In other words, take a snow day.
Hmmmh. Still looking mighty frigid out there. Time for a hot bath!
She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. Proverbs 31:21 KJV
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