Where the Heat Is,
the Heart Is
Before Judie and I ran Monday’s errands, she scraped the ice off the wiper blades, which had frozen against the lower portion of the windshield in the five minutes she came to collect me. When she opened the back door to toss the snow brush in, a gust of wind and snow flurries tore through the car.
“Brrrrr! Close the door. ” I shivered and pulled my hat down over my ears. This somehow dislodged my right hearing aid. I had to take my crocheted hat off and untangle the slender peach-colored instrument from the yarn. What a pain. I reinserted it in my ear, only to hear a dull, continuous buzzing drone directly into my eardrum.
Irritated, I ignored the sound and negotiated our stops. “So, Judie, you need to go to the bank, too? Okay, I guess we’ll head into the city center. If it’s not out of the way, coming home, I’d like to stop and take a photo of my church. Oh, what? You want to go to the Dollar Store? Okay…”
Even she, a confident driver, slowed down when she came across patches of ice. “I’m not too keen on that,” she said. “The snow’s fine. But ice is so unpredictable.”
After we finished a couple of errands, I turned to her, “To the church now?”
She nodded. I wanted to update our church Facebook page. It was a new year and as the online administrator, that called for change. When we arrived, Judie parked alongside the long road leading into the parking lot. I took a few photographs of the front of the building with my phone camera. “Hey Judie, whattaya think?”
She leaned out her window to peek at the photos. “Too far away. Get closer. Also, you don’t want the telephone line in the photo. Stand on the other side of the cable. ”
“Oh yeah.” I didn’t say my poor vision kept me from noticing the cable at all. I took a few more shots. “Better?”
She got out of the car, pulled off a glove and pinched the corners of my digital photo outward, enlarging it.”
I snapped my fingers. “Way Cool! How–”
A rude driver laying on his horn interrupted me. He glared at us and shrugged, clearly asking us how he was supposed to pass by with Judie blocking the exit. To accommodate him, she returned to the car, pulled into the intersection and drove away.
As I waited for Judie to make her way back, I suddenly felt the biting cold. I had left one glove in the car. My fingers grew numb. I tried to flex them but they were stiff and slow to respond. Shielding my face from the raw wind, I wet my chapped lips. I protected my iphone from the snow flurries by covering it with my hand. Then I carefully changed hands and blew on the fingers of my open hand, trying to breathe some life into them. “Juuuu-diiiiieee! Hurry up!” I said, tapping my toes up and down in my boots to generate warmth in those extremities.
A minute or so later, Judie pulled over and gestured for me to get in. “Rude fellow,” she observed. Always a gentle woman, it took a lot to ruffle her feathers.
“Definitely not from the church, ” I agreed.
As we headed home, I said, “You know, it’s so cold out. The snow is flying everywhere. It’s really cold.”
“It’s 19 degrees,” Judie reported.
The temperature affected me but even moreso was how I felt. Emotionally, I felt adrift. I’d been filled with unease since the day before. I had something on my heart I needed to share, and I didn’t want to run out of time.
Lack of time was my biggest fear.
I kept flipping the phone on photo mode to bring the picture up. There was something about the photograph of the church that warmed me. In fact, the more I thought about it, the warmer I felt. Was God trying to speak to me? I studied the photograph again. The church wasn’t the building. It was the people who made a church. They loved, whether inside or outside.
They give of themselves. They support. They cry with you when you’re sad. They come to your house when you have a shut-in mother. They bring communion and up-to-date news. They give advice and listen. Suddenly, it’s not cold. Their love heats you up. They embody faith in action.
I craved the heat. I was freezing in the snow flurries of my fear and heading toward numbness. If I could only warm the blood pumping to my heart, I’d avoid frostbite.
What would I need to thaw out my fear?
Maybe God intended the photo of the familiar brick building standing firm in the midst of cold snow flurries to remind me I needed to stand firm in the midst of my fears. In order to do that, I had to see that my heart was built of the right substance. If I built faith into my heart, it would thaw out my fears. If I gathered sticks of doubt, they wouldn’t burn in the snow. They’d fizzle and more cold fear would seep into my heart.
God provided me with an important life lesson that morning. God’s provision for me had nothing to do with the temperature. He could meet my needs in any weather (or any situation).
No matter how cold or uncertain the environment around me turned, if I had faith in God, I’d have heat in my heart.
Let the snow swirl, let the bitter cold wind release its gale. Let the obstacles hurl themselves in my direction. I could turn away and ignore the irritating buzz they brought and focus on God’s whispered promise.
Philippians 4: 19 states, My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
I did believe that.
Thank you God for Your faithfulness. Thank you for heating my heart in the middle of a frozen day.