by Lori Altebaumer @Lori_Altebaumer
Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. Isaiah 60:1 NKJV
Winter in Texas is as dependable as a monkey on Mountain Dew. Thirty today, eighty tomorrow. Or worse, eighty in the morning and thirty by lunch. People in Texas do not plan out the weeks’ worth of outfits on Sunday night. Last week we had a string of days where the temperatures never got out of the upper twenties with precipitation and freezing rain. Miserably cold. In Texas these are the conditions that inspire panic, food hoarding, the updating of wills, and gas shortages.
But as quickly as it came, the cold left, and the sun shone through. Having spent several days writing in the climate-controlled comfort of my office, I was ready for some sunshine. I grabbed a light jacket and headed out to catch what sunlight I could. When I stepped from the trees surrounding our house into the open, the warmth of the winter sun wrapped around me like the embrace of a beloved friend.
I turned my face to the sun and let the rays soak into my skin. This was not the heat of the intense summer sun that hits like a furnace blast. No, the winter sun reached through the chilly air and settled against my skin like butter melting onto a piece of warm bread. Delicious. Slow. Soaking.
I am keenly aware of the warmth steadily reaching deeper into my body, feeding my soul. I feel as if I’m being filled with a golden glow. The warmth makes me smile. The tension in my body releases, my arms open, hanging loose and ready to receive. I feel the radiance of the Lord washing over me.
Then I hear a commotion behind me—the dog and cat were having a disagreement about which one was more important, I think. It distracts me and I turn to look, my back now to the sun. The warmth disappears in an instant, much faster than it came. I wrap my arms around my middle, holding myself tightly, trying to preserve the warmth and protect myself from the chill.
Then it hits me.
This is exactly what I do with God. I turn my face to Him and feel His love radiating through me. I relax my anxious worrying. I stand open to receive whatever He has for me. I glow.
Then something captures my attention. Distracted, I turn my face from Him. Perhaps it is an unexpected event—a diagnosis or job change. Or it could be a series of small things turning me slowly by degrees. An overcommitted schedule. A wounded heart I refuse to address. A television show I won’t stop watching or friends that pull me toward things that aren’t God’s best for me. Soon my arms no longer hang open to receive from God. I hug them tightly against me for protection. My body becomes tense, uncomfortable and aching.
I have two choices. I can grow accustomed to the cold and learn to live with the ache until I accept it as normal.
Or I can turn back to the Son.
Oh the unmistakable beauty found in the everyday rising of the sun! Is it possible that God has established this as a picture for us? The writer of Lamentations thought so. “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every monring; Great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NASB). The Son is always there. We have only to turn to Him and be warmed.
Turn your face to Him today and feel the warmth of His love.
About the author: Lori Altebaumer is a writer and editor who only half-jokingly tells others she lives with one foot in a parallel universe. She is a wandering soul with a home-keeping heart and a love of words and story. Lori loves sharing the joys of living a Christ-centered life with others through her writing. Now that her nest is empty, Lori enjoys traveling with her husband and visiting her adult children where she can rummage through their refrigerators and food pantries while complaining there’s nothing good to eat here (payback!). She blogs regularly from her website at www.lorialtebaumer.com, and can also be reached on her Facebook page @lorialtebaumerwrites.
Join the conversation: What tends to distract you from soaking in God’s love?