Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
The signs said: “Beware of Snow Cats.” And after a ride up the mountain, a measure of courage was added to my life that day.
At approximately five feet high and eight feet wide—you couldn’t miss them. Large warning signs strategically placed every now-and-then on the sides of the ski trails of Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, Colorado. After three days of skiing our then ten-year-old son, Nathan, pointed to one of the signs as he and I were riding the ski-lift to the top of the mountain, and asked, “Daddy, have you seen one yet?”
“Seen what, Nathan?”
“A Snow Cat!” As we continued to ride the lift heading to the top of Buttermilk Mountain, further discussions with my young son revealed that the “snow cats” he believed the signs were referring to were of the mountain lion, snow leopard or comparable other dangerous animal variety. I stifled the chuckle that began to rise from within, and instead explained through with a smile that what the signs were referring to were the snow-plow-like machines that drove up and down the slopes packing down the snow; machines otherwise referred to as “snow cats.”
“Oh,” he breathed again, through a deep sigh of apparent relief.
But here’s the key for you and me to remember—despite believing that at any given moment a mountain lion or snow leopard could leap out of the trees and bushes while he skied down the slopes—Nathan never stopped skiing. His courage in the face of “real danger” taught me a lot that day about the strength and courage that is within us to deal with whatever we might face in life.
If your journey was anything like mine in 2013, you faced your share of “snow cats”—real or imagined. Whether the loss of a loved one or a much-needed job, or facing an illness you hadn’t anticipated or one that reared its ugly head again. Perhaps you are still trying to figure out how to help your child find their way in the world, or wondering just what your real purpose in life was meant to be.
Yet here we stand, having made it through all we faced in 2013, to find ourselves once again in the beginning moments of a brand new year. A year—2014—that is full of uncertainty, yet which is also a year jam-packed with unlimited possibility.
A year in which you will have the chance to finally change that one habit you should have changed a long time ago. A year where you mend a fence, build a bridge, and lift a life that needs lifting—and maybe in the process find that yours is lifted also. A brand new year where you realize that there is no reason why you can’t do this or do that—whatever it is that you have always dreamed of doing. A year in which you sense God’s call on your life in a new and exciting direction, although it seems a bit unnerving as well.
A year in which you realize that you may not always get where you set out to go, but you go anyway. Or you find out that you may fall short too often to keep count, or you may have to keep your eye on too many warning signs at times.
But you sense in your better moments, that it is a year with unlimited potential and possibility. And all it may take to realize things you never have realized before, and to accomplish things you’ve only dreamed of up to now—is a bit of courage that allows you to courageously just keep on “skiing” past all the problems, obstacles, or uncertainties you will face.
And maybe in the process we will even come to a place where we realize, as the Apostle Paul did when he penned that verse above, that all the courage we will ever need is available in and through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
I don’t know what mountains or valleys, obstacles or uncertainties you will face in 2014.
I do know, though, that the God Who created you did so with a reason, and for a purpose, and will be with you in whatever you face.
I don’t know what problems, disappointments or set-backs you will experience in 2014, but I do know that the God Who created the universe and flung the stars into the heavens, and put a sparkle in your eye, has all the strength you will ever need for you to overcome whatever they are.
I don’t know what scary “snow cat” moments you will face in 2014, but here’s my suggestion for you when you do—no actually, God’s suggestion for you—to just keep on skiing—with Him.
“Beware of Snow Cats!” Sure.
And then keep on skiing!
A continuing happy 2014 to each of you!
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2014. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.