A few weekends ago, my family and I headed to the mountains of West Virginia for a little getaway. We went to a state park that I had grown up going to with family and friends, so following the weaving roads leading into the park brought to mind some of my favorite memories and emotions. Memories of adventure and freedom as we roamed the woods on our own. Memories of accomplishment over creating forts within those woods. Memories of bib overalls and horseback riding. Memories of french fries, s’mores and talent shows. Memories of friendships so sweet that they are still present today.
And the emotion of warmth.
I don’t really think that’s an emotion, but just go with me!
I guess it’s more of a feeling.
It’s the feeling you have when your table is full with your favorite people. It’s the feeling you have when you get to linger in conversation with your most trusted friend. It’s the feeling you have when you tip your head back in laughter from something your husband just said. It’s the feeling you have when your youngest nestles up on your lap and says, “I love you, Mommy.”
It’s the feeling you have when your soul is at rest.
I sat by the fire outside, with a warm drink in my cold hands, underneath a canopy of golden leaves falling from the trees, watching my sons and nephews roam the woods around our cabin, building a fort, which they ended up turning into a jail – boys!- and that feeling of warmth surrounded me, just like the heat of the fire.
The warmth settled into my soul.
What would happen if we took this idea of warmth and applied it to Christ?
Jesus is the warmth that we feel deep within us.
Based on what I said above, you might be thinking that my day in the woods, sitting by the fire was absolutely perfect. It certainly was wonderful, but what I didn’t say was that I had barely slept the night before, the kids had already been fighting, it had rained all morning, we had a fearful moment while horseback riding and the day that I had imagined – hiking to a glorious summit where I would worship the Lord – hadn’t happened.
My expectations of the day and what actually happened were different. But just because it was different, and my expectations had to shift, didn’t mean that what happened was bad…it was just different.
But even in the different, even in the shift of expectations, the warmth of Jesus was there.
Scripture doesn’t promise that we will always have perfect days, in fact it promises quite the opposite. Trials and suffering will come. Plans and expectations will be sideswiped. We will walk through valleys where the shadow of death hovers close.
But what remains through all of that is the warming presence of Jesus.
He is our comfort.
He is our hope.
He is our help.
He is our guide.
He is our rest.
He is the source of the warmth that is in our soul. He is the deep, deep joy that we have despite the trial we face. He is the light, just like that fire, that illuminates the darkest of our days. He is the faithful presence that never leaves us.
Praise be to God.
Is Jesus your source of warmth?
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. Jeremiah 31:3