We have begun our BIG THAW here in the deep South after a week of frigid temperatures, snow and ice. We are not equipped to handle these conditions. We are prepared and capable of handling the 90 + degree days with 90 % humidity for a few months every summer. In fact, we have it down to a fine science just how we survive the tropic summers. Let a snow flake fall, and we are all thrown into a panic over how we will survive. The residual effects are with us until the last bit of ice has melted leaving a field of mud where our beautiful yards once were.
All during this past week, I have still made my thrice daily walk around the hood. I observed the slow morphing of my surroundings from beautiful fluffy "dry" snow to an ice crusted hard layer of ice and snow. My neighbors observed as I slowly crept around the block, staying on top of what appeared to be the crisp white covering on our lawns and streets instead of sinking into the softness of the snow. The entire hood became one frozen block of ice. Hard as a brick and prompting great caution as I made my rounds with The Wonder Dog. My head knows if I slip and fall on this, it will be a crash and burn of Artic proportion. Ice is NOT giving and broken bones are not forgiving at this point in life.
The temperatures finally reached above freezing and the slow melt finally began. What started as a slow melting finally transformed into a mushy and muddy softening from the warm rays of the sun and moderation of the temperature. We started with warm spongy ground, went to a soft layer of snow, turned to a rock hard covering of ice and finally began to return to what we started with. The water is running off in sheets, the ground is squishy mud, and the ice has disappeared. The earth has returned to the form it should be.
This reminds me of our hearts. I am reading through The Pentateuch during my chronological read through The Bible. God's chosen people suffer from hardening of the heart over and over. Grumblers who are never satisfied, God becomes exasperated with their lack of gratitude and refusal to be satisfied, as well as a lack of regard for Who He is. They are not happy, He gives them water; they are not happy, He provides them food; they are not happy about much of anything and over and over He tries to satisfy them. With each provision, in a short time, they are once again complaining with hard hearts. He finally gets enough! As a consequence for these hard hearts, the entire generation of those who left the bondage of Egypt are denied entrance into the Promised Land. They will never see the Land of Milk and Honey--instead they will have 40 years to consider what they missed by the hardening of their hearts.
My prayer is I never forget--in the midst of the isolation of a pandemic, in the midst of the loss of dear friends, in the midst of life altering changes, in the midst of suffering and heartbreak, and in the midst of the shut down and destruction caused by a winter storm---I NEVER forget all I have been blessed by--all I am grateful for---all that has been and is still to come. I am praying for a soft heart---a heart which is bruised for those that suffer and grieve; a heart which weeps with those who weep; and a heart which melts like the ice and snow in the warmth of the Son's tenderness and love. I pray to always be aware of the Big Picture--God's Great and Grand Plan--which always points toward Jesus. I pray for my heart to be soft as the earth in the Spring garden---ready for seeds to be planted, growth to follow and the rich harvest to come. Lord, keep my heart soft---even if this leads to hard things--keep my heart soft toward You.
"And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.
And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh
and give you a heart of flesh."