Affliction

The ploughed road along the Pick farm in Minnesota. Mid-November. Bitterly cold day saved by the weakened, hopeful sunshine of late afternoon. The slicing wind has ceased, leaving its witness in the grasses which took captive the wild snow as it passed. Waves of white, as one might see in the swirling waves on the sea in a storm. Except these peaks are stilled even as they move, during an icy blast, and a temperature that takes their forward progress prisoner.

Affliction. Affliction is like the icy blasts that immobilize our forward movements. Affliction halts our merry dance through life as surely as the icy wind halts the snow’s progress across the prairie flats.

James suggests, and those who pray know, that the remedy is to pray to God. Prayer can unlock the grip of unwelcome circumstances, and frightening afflictions to mind, body, and spirit as surely as the sun can melt the ice and free the grasses to again dip and curl along the roadside.

Pray without ceasing. Pray in the Spirit. Unlock the bolted door that prohibits entry into the “peace that passes understanding.” Pick the lock with prayer and oil it with thanksgiving! For behind that door stands the Lord, waiting. He is waiting for your prayer, and waiting for your willingness to trust Him with all your life. The Prince of Peace is He. And during the transition which will certainly come just as the sun returns faithfully each morning (whether or not it can be seen) sing psalms of praise and thanksgiving, acknowledging God for who He is and what He has done — and will do. There is a time coming, may it be not too far distant, when the frost will melt from your limbs hanging sadly down and you will rise again to sing psalms, and dance, and make merry, and praise God Almighty, your Creator, your Salvation, and your Prince of Peace.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning it now and ever shall be. World without end. Amen.

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