(A bit longer than usual. Thanks for your patience. Glen).
"Flakeless (The Little Foxes)"
To paraphrase the poet, ice, ice everywhere, nor any flake of snow!
We like snow down here in the subtropics, largely because we very rarely see it in any significant accumulation. When we do, it quickly melts into oblivion. So, after three or four days of predictions that we might have 1-3 inches, a lot of us have been looking forward to it.
Alas, ice, ice everywhere, nor... well, you know. In our neighborhood, we never saw a flake. We did see, however, tons of frozen rain and sleet, which have turned sidewalks, streets, and even lawns into skating rinks. Walking is treacherous, especially for ice novices such as we happen to be. We're a bit disappointed, but are nevertheless safe and warm. Moreover, the weatherman is predicting 72 degrees by Monday! So long ice!
This causes me to ponder the minor disappointments of life, which for all of us are many. Conversely, major letdowns are relatively few, thus making our handling of the small issues a matter of paramount spiritual importance.
"Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines" (Song of Solomon 2:15).
The rubber, or shall we today say, the ice, meets the road when we consider "the little foxes." Again, not that many big bears, as it were, confront us along the pathways of life. The foxes, however, greet us daily and in countless forms of disappointment, irritation, and dissatisfaction. The bears, because of their dimension and intensity, tend to drive believers to the Lord in full awareness of our need for grace, strength, and the comforting presence of God. However, we may not respond so consistently to the foxes. There's so many of them, and their presence in our lives demands frequent remembrance and affirmation of our calling to trust the Lord with a grateful and submissive heart. Herein lies the challenge. Minor disappointments and irritations demand daily offerings of the faith that do not allow our fleshly impulses to control us. Thus, our walk with the Lord largely ebbs and flows in direct proportion to our response to the little foxes.
Our primary weapon for the frequent challenge involves a matter of doctrine and corresponding conviction. Namely, how involved do we believe our Heavenly Father to be in our everyday lives? The Bible plainly teaches a very pointed participation of the heart and hand of God.
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (I Corinthians 10:13).
Note the universal nature of temptation. Note even more the Divine promise of universal provision concerning every challenge. This requires His pointed presence and involvement in our lives. Thus, when foxes or bears confront us, we must have established within our hearts the doctrinal conviction of God's purposed determination or allowance of the matter at hand. We must build an altar of heart whereupon we sacrifice the deception of a Godless life, lived with no confidence in Divine involvement. In the place of such unbelief, we erect a spiritual monument of faith whereby we determine to see approaching or arriving foxes and bears in the light of Christ. "These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). Such confidence equips us to far more consistently face and overcome the challenges we face, regardless of dimension, intensity, or frequency.
Lack of snow is, of course, a very minor disappointment. It nevertheless required the remembrance of God's involvement in our particular environment, but even more, in our hearts. No fox is so tiny that he cannot spoil the vine of our joy, peace, and walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, we seek and take the opportunities provided by spiritual varmints both small and large to trust in our Lord's purposes and provisions, and to submit ourselves to His glory and will. Remembrance and affirmation of this Biblical truth goes far in maintaining a walk with God that keeps our hearts in the "good cheer" of His promise, "I have overcome the world."
"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
(I John 5:4)
Weekly Memory Verse
The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.