one can't check social media, watch a few minutes of tv, or browse the magazine rack without seeing a lot of uncomfortable things happening in the world. stuff that will break our hearts, stuff that tempts us into rage, and stuff that might even offend and disgust us is plastered and praised and defended by many while others protest and shout their disgust and offenses, slowly letting their hearts grow cold to the ones we're to love.
before moving to montana, i didn't have a good understanding of what "cold" meant. socal winter living meant wearing a scarf in 65 degree weather. here... a much different story. it's when your phone reads -20 that you realize you're not in california anymore and unless there's an absolute emergency, you're not taking one step outside. there were a couple days that we had to be out in said negative weather, and the moment you step outside, you feel as though your lungs are going to turn into bags of ice, making it nearly impossible to breathe. even with gloves on, the tips of your fingers begin to feel stiff and numb, rendering them hurt and useless.
"and because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold."
when i read this verse, i pictured myself in the winter, my useless hands unable to help anyone because they're sticking close to my body to keep themselves warm. it would be easy to feel so defeated and disheartened and shocked by the winter of the world's activities, letting our hearts - the things that are supposed to remain warm and welcoming - slowly begin to numb and retract and attempt to keep the heat in, all to ourselves... we're in survival mode after all...
"if you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. but if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it."
Jesus' plan for survival is the complete opposite of what our natural man wants to do. when it's freezing cold, we naturally want to curl up in a ball and get back in the house, where it's warm and comfortable. but Jesus calls us to do the crazy thing - trudge through the snowy winters of this world with Him, breathing life into the hearts of stone that have long been frozen.
i don't want to shrink back from the bitter cold, i want to persevere through it and remain loving like Jesus does. it doesn't mean i'll agree with everyone and support everything, but allowing the Spirit to work His fruit through me even when i don't agree with someone or something - letting patience and kindness and goodness thaw and revive even the iciest places.
"For a second after Aslan had breathed upon him the stone lion looked just the same. Then a tiny streak of gold began to run along his white marble back - then it spread - then the color seemed to lick all over him as the flame licks all over a bit of paper - then, while his hind-quarters were still obviously stone the lion shook his mane and all the heavy, stony folds rippled into living hair. Then he opened a great red mouth, warm and living..."
c.s. lewis, the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe