In honor of the winter that just showed up here it western Wisconsin, I give you COLD.
The most obvious definition of cold this time of year refers to temperature. But when we get ill, it’s said that we caught a cold (as if we were chasing one!). Then there’s the way that person responded to you; they gave you the cold shoulder. And we can’t ignore the dark soul with the cold heart.
We can eat cold cuts or quit something cold turkey. And colors can even be described as warm or cold. But we never want to be left out in the cold.
I left the house for work this morning with the wind chill factor at 0°F (-17°C), and we still have at least 2½ months of winter weather ahead of us. For those of you in colder climes, I feel for you! The coldest temperatures we are likely to face this winter, with windchill, will likely be around -40°F, the point at which the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales converge.
Now, we must realize that cold can be a matter of interpretation, but from my experience once you get below -20°F it’s just plain cold. Have you ever noticed that you can be sitting in your living room in the summer time with the air-conditioning thermostat set to 68°F and you can still feel hot, but that same 68°F thermostat setting in the winter feels cold?
A friend, a former Wisconsinite who moved to Maui a few years back, was visiting at our house yesterday (WHY??? I know, right?). I’m sure that the temps in the teens were really freezing for her, but we’ve had gradually colder weather since October, so we’re cold, but not that cold. We have acclimated to the temperatures.
I’ll bet you’re wondering when I’m going to turn this toward discipleship, right? Wait no longer!
Jesus, speaking about the signs of the end times, said “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:12-13, ESV). In the verses leading up to that statement He cited violence and hatred, anguish and betrayal, etc. in what reads like a transcript of the evening news or the Dr. Phil show.
On Wednesday I wrote about becoming desensitized to sin and violence, Playing with Fire. It is a bit ironic that this desensitization can make your love grow cold and burn you at the same time. But it turns out that frostbite can be just like a burn in that it does damage to the tissues without any sort of contact trauma. Also, the damage is rated in degrees based on the amount of permanent damage to the tissues.
So be aware, that the same things that can burn you spiritually, can also put your love into the deep freeze. How long you allow it to go on will determine whether you are able to recover. There’s an old Petra song (I know I’m dating myself, here!) that says, “Don’t let your heart be hardened / Don’t let your love grow / May it always stay so childlike / May it never grow too old / Don’t let your heart be hardened / May you always know the cure / Keep it broken before Jesus / Keep it thankful, meek, and pure.”
Blessings on your weekend; and may your heart be kept warm and toasty by His love and His Spirit. Amen.