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Pastor’s Pen: the January thaw

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It was a joint statement at the time. We would have huge accumulations of snow during the months of November and December leaving little room along the roads. These thaws were well received, making travel safer, schools and events were not canceled at the time. On many country roads would be reduced to one lane.

While hunting hares we would encounter snow at depths well above our knees, not having snowmobiles or video games as teenagers, it was our entertainment. Growing up on a farm, we always had tasks to do regardless of the weather conditions. This is not a complaint!


Today we have equipment to quickly clear heavy snowfall not only from our roads, but also from shopping malls, schools, churches and hospitals, keeping life as normal as possible. However, winter can be like a big traffic jam on I-95 in Virginia, lasting over 30 hours for some, putting people’s lives at risk.

Where do we turn in winter storms or in storms involved in our personal lives? We read in our Bibles where the disciples faced life threatening storms on the water. Let’s look at the one where Jesus walked on the water.

In Matthew 14: 24-33, Jesus sent the disciples in a boat:

“And the boat was already a considerable distance from land, rocked by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn, Jesus came out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “He’s a ghost,” they said, and they screamed in fear.

“But Jesus immediately said to them, ‘Take heart! It is I. Do not be afraid.’

“Lord, if it is you,” replied Peter, “tell me to come to you on the water. “

“Come on,” he said.

“Then Peter got out of the boat, walked on the water and came towards Jesus. But when he saw the wind he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried: ‘Lord, save me!’

Immediately Jesus reached out and grabbed him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt? And when they got in the boat, the wind died down. Then those in the boat bowed down to him, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”

What can we learn from this and what does it have to do with “the January thaw” in our personal storms?

We must recognize Jesus as our source of hope. As we come out with our eyes fixed on Him, the storms may seem to get bigger, causing us to sink below the surface. Like Peter, we will have to cry out to Jesus: “Lord, save me”, then welcome him by bringing us back to the boat, where calm reigns!

With the welcome of the “January Thaw,” let us extend our hand to Jesus, not allowing storms to cause fear and panic.

– Ron Witbeck is Associate Pastor at Resurrection Life Church in Big Rapids.

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