It is said that in February, at the end of hibernation, the groundhog determines how much of winter is left by popping out of his hole to learn whether he sees his shadow or not. If he doesn’t see a shadow, the day is cloudy, but the outlook is bright: Spring is coming! If the groundhog sees his shadow, the day is sunny, but there will be 6 more weeks of winter yet to endure. How often do we judge our future outlooks by our current situations?
Over time, when we feel sick, angry, betrayed, hopeless, poor, unsuccessful… we can decide that what we see around us will continue into our future. We often blame ourselves and others for our circumstances. “I am sick; he doesn’t care.” “I am sad; they are inconsiderate.” “I am helpless; she never helps me.” “I am lonely; they don’t invite me.”
Those thoughts, repeated often enough, convince us that nothing will ever get better, we’re on a downhill slide, and others are generally mean or selfish. But in Ephesians 4:31–32 (NLT) Paul writes, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
Like the groundhog, we also can choose a godly perspective. When the groundhog sees a sunny day, he interprets: “Great! I can use this time to prepare for the coming of the Master!” Like the servant entrusted with many talents he prepares and invests them for the master’s return.
When he sees a cloudy day, our groundhog friend interprets: “It looks yucky right now, but good things are coming. God promised!” And God did assure us that we could rely on His promises. Look in any version of the Bible available to you while here, from the NIV, see the evidence:
- Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
- Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…”
- Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothes?”
- Romans 8:28-31 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose… What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
- Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Make your February one in which you look for God’s promises in sunshine or in shadow, my friends!