Pastor's Pen: The January Thaws

Ron Witbeck, associate pastor at Resurrection Life Church in Big Rapids

Ron Witbeck, associate pastor at Resurrection Life Church in Big Rapids

Courtesy photo

‘The January Thaws’ is a term that we just don’t hear nowadays!  

That was a common statement back in the days of old. We would get huge accumulations of snow during the months of November and December leaving little room along the roadsides. Those thaws were welcomed, making travel less hazardous, schools and events were not canceled back in those days. On many country roads would be reduced to single lanes.

We would, while hunting jackrabbits, encounter snow in depths well above our knees, not having snowmobiles or video games as teenagers this was our entertainment. Growing up on a farm we always had chores that had to be performed regardless of weather conditions. That’s not a complaint!

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

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

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

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

"But Jesus immediately said to them: 'Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.'

"'Lord, if it’s you,' Peter replied, 'tell me to come to you on the water.'

"'Come,' he said.  

"Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, 'Lord, save me!'   

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. 'You of little faith,' he said, 'why did you doubt?' And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, 'Truly you are the Son of God.'"

What can we take from this, and what does this have to do with ‘The January Thaws’ in our personal storms?

We should recognize Jesus as our source of hope. Stepping out with our eyes upon Him, the storms may seem to become bigger, causing us to sink below the surface. Like Peter we will need to cry out to Jesus, “Lord save me” then welcoming Him leading us back into the boat, where the calmness lies!

With the welcoming of the ‘The January Thaws’ let’s reach out to Jesus, not allowing the storms to cause fear and panic.

— Ron Witbeck is an associate pastor at Resurrection Life Church in Big Rapids.