By Roger Kruse
As the cold weather sets in I find myself hesitating to embrace the routine of maintaining a wood/coal fire the next six months to heat our home. After 25 years of cutting, splitting, and stacking firewood and then hauling it up the stairs each day, I am getting weary. Don’t forget climbing up on the roof to keep the chimney clean of creosote. Why not go with perpetual summer? Who needs autumn, with winter knocking on the door? Maybe it is the thought of those dark, cloudy days with few glimpses of the sun that drag me down. Daily activities seem drab with fewer possibilities of outdoor activities, which I prefer.
Snap out of it, Roger, think of all the good things which fall and winter bring. The scenic beauty of colored leaves, crispy, fresh apples, cool runs with more energy, a break from weekly lawn mowing, Ohio State Buckeyes football games, the anticipation of Thanksgiving and even Christmas. Don’t forget the cozy warmth of those fires you just said you were reluctant to keep burning.
Like it or not, seasonal change is an essential part of living here in Northeast Ohio. God in His wisdom gave us the variety of changing seasons to bless us and help us learn important lessons about life. Have you learned to step back and take a look at your life from a seasonal perspective? Where are you at? What issues characterize and affect your daily life the most? How are you coping with those factors?
At age 66 there is no doubt that physical changes in my body create new daily challenges I haven’t had to deal with before. What I do, when I do it, and how I do it all seem to matter, and depend on how I feel. For moms and dads with young kids, lots of energy and patience is required. The demands of the little ones seem to require almost non-stop attention. A married couple needs to be mindful that their own relationship may suffer if they don’t carve out intentional time to connect with each other. For families with teenagers, the issues are different. Changing moods, myriad activities, and peer related issues abound. How do Dad and Mom keep sanity when drama seems to be the order of the day?
Of course, sickness can intrude into our lives at any point along the way. I look at people I know battling cancer or some other major illness and I wonder how I would do in their shoes. None of us wants to face our own mortality, especially when they seem too young to have to deal with a life threatening malady. Then I think about people facing the devastation of a hurricane, a robbery, rape or shooting. How about unemployment or the stress of a lousy work environment? What if your boyfriend, girlfriend or even your spouse lets you know that it is over? How do you deal with the pain of rejection and what are the implications for your future?
With all these potential changes knocking at your door, how do you cope? Where do you find solid ground upon which to stand? Is there an inner strength, peace and contentment that will provide you with the resources you need to be press on? All good questions which invite us to look up. Only God never changes. His love for you and me is steadfast, from everlasting to everlasting. Nothing can separate God’s children from the grip of the Savior’s amazing grace. Allow your changes and challenges to become a stepping stone to Jesus. Your needs are intended to point you to your Greatest Need, to know and love the Lord.
The longer Roger Kruse lives, the more he is convinced that faith must lead the way. Faith brings us into relationship with the God who tells us that “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also planted eternity in the human heart” (Eccles.3:11).