No doubt that when the meteorologists are warning us that life is “brutal out there” as NBC’s Today Show’s Al Roker just said; we look for any help we can.
Today we are in the midst of the Polar Vortex that is slamming our country with bitter cold. Here in Missouri, the cold is bad and only to be much worse tomorrow, but we have hope—sunshine is also predicted.
These are the days that I just want pure sunshine coming in the patio door warming my dining room table. I watch the birds, feel the warmth on my skin, and anticipate the first signs of spring.
I thrive in sunshine.
The meteorologists tell us that we have not had a polar vortex like this in 20-25 years. I had to stop and think about that and try to remember what I remember from 20-25 years ago.
The memory that floats to the top is moving from one house to another in bitter cold. The snow was cleared from the drives and walks, but it was cold. So cold in fact, that the water line was frozen to my new house—and we were moving in. Not a good start.
But in spite of the negatives of that winter day, I realize that there was sunshine, especially in the form of my cousin. My cousin had driven across the state with a stock trailer to help me make the second move in four months.
Now here is the metaphor: a polar vortex is just one more example of real-life challenges and the warmth of the sunshine makes it possible to get through the roughest cold times to be rewarded with the warmer temperatures on the other side of the vortex.
Our lives are filled with challenges that can freeze us up as quickly and completely as the polar vortex. We need sunshine to keep us warm, to thaw us out, to lighten our days.
I realize now that Jesus Christ is our “SON-shine” for managing our lives on a daily basis—regardless of the weather forecast. In the darkest and coldest times of our lives, we need to turn our face to Jesus, the Son of God. He is the link to weathering our life storms.
Where do we find this “SON-shine”? The typical answer our preachers might say is in scripture. Certainly the Bible is filled with examples of how faith carries one through all kinds of storms, but I add another answer: turn to our Christian peers.
My cousin did not have to give up his time, tow a trailer across the state, and then physically help us load and unload all my goods making the move from one house down the block to another house. But he did. He and his family did.
My cousin and his family were the arms and legs of Jesus helping me to warm up in his “SON-shine.” Loving one another is God’s ray of “son-shine” in the polar vortexes of our lives.
I continue to read the scriptures and this week I have been reading Isaiah and Mark. The prophecies in Isaiah certainly provide examples of polar vortexes in the lives of the ancient faithful who were still waiting for the Messiah.
Then Mark shares how faith in Jesus healed so many facing life challenges, too. Remember the story of the religious leader’s 12-year old daughter who died? Remember the story of the woman who was healed of a life-time of hemorrhaging?
These are the verses from Mark 5:21-43 from the New Living Translation:
Jesus Heals in Response to Faith
21 Jesus got into the boat again and went back to the other side of the lake, where a large crowd gathered around him on the shore. 22 Then a leader of the local synagogue, whose name was Jairus, arrived. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet, 23 pleading fervently with him. “My little daughter is dying,” he said. “Please come and lay your hands on her; heal her so she can live.”
24 Jesus went with him, and all the people followed, crowding around him. 25 A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. 26 She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. 28 For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.”
29 Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.
30 Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?”
31 His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?’”
32 But he kept on looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”
35 While he was still speaking to her, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. They told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.”
36 But Jesus overheard[d] them and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.”
37 Then Jesus stopped the crowd and wouldn’t let anyone go with him except Peter, James, and John (the brother of James). 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw much commotion and weeping and wailing.39 He went inside and asked, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.”
40 The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying.41 Holding her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means “Little girl, get up!” 42 And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed. 43 Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell anyone what had happened, and thenhe told them to give her something to eat.
Yes, it is cold outside. But with the warmth of sunshine coming in our windows, we can manage the bitter temperatures.
With Jesus Christ, though, we have “SON-shine” that goes beyond the physical warming of the sun and reaches into all the storms of our lives. All we have to do is to have faith and to love one another in all the ways we can at all the times we can for all those we can.
Please join me in prayer:
Dear God, father of Jesus Christ,
Thank you for sending your son
to shine in our lives.
Thank you for those who believe and serve
as your Son’s ray loving one another.
Give me the strength to face
the polar vortexes in our lives
with the faith of those who walked with Jesus.
Guide me in doing all that I can
to be your “Son-shine” in someone else’s life
so they are warmed by your love, too. –Amen.