Echoes From the Campfire

Hardship was healthy; most people did not enjoy enough of it for their own good.”
              –Elmer Kelton (Stand Proud)

    “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
              –2 Timothy 2:3 (NKJV)
If my Mom had been alive she would have exclaimed that last week was “colder than the dickens!”  I had an inkling of what the “dickens” was as once in a while she would say that she was going to “slap the dickens out of me.”  But it wasn’t until I had good, old trusty “google” that I found out I was right.  “Colder than the devil,” but to my mind that didn’t make sense for I had always thought of things being hot around the devil.  However, there is the curse of the White Witch on Narnia forcing the Long Winter.
    I know for a fact that the Lord is the Creator; that the winds and waves obey Him.  I had never thought before of the devil being able to control nature.  My mind jumped to Job, “then suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead…” (Job 1:19, NKJV)  I recalled that the magicians of Pharaoh’s court were able to duplicate in some manner the first few plagues.
    Could it be that Satan has gone to the Lord, in mockery, saying that if He removed His hand from protecting the United States that they would not recognize Him?  Think of the hurricanes, the forest fires, and now this extreme cold that has hit our country (and I know that it has happened to other countries as well).  I thought perhaps it was allowed as a warning, but could it be from the devil himself?  I do know that the Antichrist will be able to perform miracles, do signs and wonders.  And what is a miracle?  It is “interfering” with the ordinary laws and course of nature.  Does the devil have the power to make a normal storm into a whirlwind?  Can he make something “extreme”?  
    Honestly, I really do not have an answer.  But I do believe that whenever something out of the ordinary happens we should look to God–what is He trying to tell us?  Is repentance needed?  Are we missing something?  Or is it just nature groaning under the curse?
    I said all of that to say that one of our issues is that we do not take time to be thankful for the keeping hand of the Lord and for His blessings.  This past Sunday I thought it was very appropriate that the hymns sung at church were songs of thanksgiving and gratefulness:  “Wonderful Words of Life”, “Count Your Blessings”, Showers of Blessing.”  Blessing in the midst of a hurricane such as Harvey?  Blessing in the midst of severe cold, lack of power, frozen pipes, and flooding?  Absolutely!  God is working!  We finished the singing with an old chorus from my Sunday School days:  “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart!”

         “Rejoice always!” — 1 Thessalonians 5:16 (NKJV)
         “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” — Philippians 4:4 (NKJV)

    Get out of the mully-grubs.  God is at work.  We may not understand, but He is working in our lives.  In fact, it might be a good week to read the Book of Philippians, a book of rejoicing.