(by Jessica K. Bunce)

Waking up on wintery mornings to a wonderland of white have become a favorite of mine as of late. For the past two days, Louisville has awoken to a brilliant display of snow and ice that transforms the landscape into something out of a Christmas card. The snow hasn’t lasted long, and quickly melts, reminding me that nothing lasts forever.

Though I miss the sunshine and warm temperatures of home in Florida, I’m thankful for this winter season. Whereas I used to sit in the sun every chance I could, to soak up as much Vitamin D as possible, now the days are gray and cloudy, with little to no real sunshine. Whereas I used to enjoy being out of the house and leaving to go do things even after getting home from work, now I feel a sense of longing to be home at the end of busy days and once there, not desiring to leave the warmth for anything short of an emergency.

Without the sunny days, I feel tired and lazy, needing an extra dose of caffeine (always Dr. Pepper) to get me through the slumps in energy during long days of teaching middle schoolers. I find myself anticipating that first taste of sweet carbonation and long for that moment after going through the Drive-Thru at McDonald’s after school.

Do I long for the sweet taste of Dr. Pepper more than I long for time in God’s Word?

The answer: yes. Painfully, yes.

Through this time, the Lord has been pricking my heart and convicting me. Through this dreary season, I have been turning more to other things than I have been relying on the Lord for my comfort and sustenance. In weak moments, I turn to caffeine to give me the boost I need to just “make it through.”

Why don’t I run to the source of life Himself?

Why don’t I feast on the bread of life and hunger for more time with the Lord?

Why do I not find my energy and hope in time spent pouring over the Word, increasing my dependence upon the One who created me?

Why do I spend so much of my waking moments daydreaming about a soda?

The answer: idolatry.

I have made an idol out of a cola and seek it out to relieve me of my physical lethargy, and even react in anger when the machine isn’t working properly, and my Dr. Pepper tastes awful.

Obviously, wanting a Dr. Pepper isn’t a sinful thing, but allowing it to consume my thoughts, color my actions, and depend upon it each and every day, is sinful.

At a new depth, I realize I don’t feed on God’s Word as I should. Moses, in Deuteronomy chapter 8, reminds the people of all God has done for them by rescuing them out of slavery in Egypt (vs. 14), sustaining them during their forty years in the wilderness (vs 2), with not even their clothes wearing out (vs. 4). Ultimately, Moses calls the people to never forget the Lord and reminds them that the Lord is the source of life:

And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word[a] that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 8:3

During Jesus’ wilderness temptation, he responds to Satan tempting him to turn rocks into bread to soothe his physical need for food by quoting that same passage:

 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Matthew 4:4

Jesus himself resisted temptation by rightly placing his trust in the source of life.

In repenting of my Dr. Pepper idol, I don’t mean to become a legalist by any means. As we all know, food and drink are important for our lives and it is perfectly fine to enjoy yummy things, but even a good minor thing can become a main thing. And when a minor thing becomes a major thing, the main thing becomes a minor thing.

May we find hope in the “bread of life” himself:

Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

They said to him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”

 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
John 6:32-35

What a beautiful picture of the “manna” proving to be a prototype pointing the people to Jesus, who is the true bread from heaven who provides unfailing sustenance and satisfaction.

Maybe you have something good that you, too, have let become an idol in your heart. Maybe something that you find too much comfort in, too much enjoyment in, or too much hope in.

My friend, repent; chase after the One who gives lasting hope and comfort. Just as the snow has melted each day, reminding me of the temporality of things here on earth, the Word of the Lord will forever stand:

 “The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God remains forever.”
Isaiah 40:8

The good minor things here on earth will end: Dr. Pepper runs out, TV shows end, people pass away. But oh, Christian, take heart because His Word lasts forever!

The Lord has shown me that I haven’t relied on Him for energy during these dark sunless days of winter, and I have made an idol out of caffeine. But idols cannot satisfy and comfort like Jesus can. May we be able to say, “Lord, give me this bread always” as we come to the table and feast on His Word.

My prayer is that the Lord would be my source of energy and flood my soul with fresh contentment in Him and Him alone.

This classic hymn reminds me this week, to turn my eyes from worthless things, and fix them upon Jesus:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Oh, soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free

Through death into life everlasting
He passed and we follow Him there
O’er us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conquerors we are

Oh, turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

His word shall not fail you, He promised
Believe Him and all will be well
Then go to a world that is dying
His perfect salvation to tell

Oh, turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.”

 

 

 

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One thought on “Winter

  1. Beautiful, sweet sis. Years ago, when I was very unhealthy due to choices I made, I was needing a way out of the cravings. I went on my knees and asked the Lord to make it taste awful. HE DID! When I chose to succumb to the craving, I would take a bite and spit it out wondering what happened. 🙂 Thank you for reminding me of HIS love.

    Like

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