Drawing Near, because “How can one keep warm alone?”

I listened to Google tell me the weather for tomorrow. Low of 27, high of 42. Ugh. This lifelong West Texas desert girl is so tired of cold weather. 

“If two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?”

Ecclesiastes 4:11

For 7 days, beginning on February 11th, Texas experienced a week-long winter storm unlike any of my generation have ever experienced. It was freezing cold. And it lasted for days. It snowed for 3 days, and stayed below freezing for the next 4 days. I watched the snow drifts pile up in my front yard. I saw the pavement and the sidewalks disappear. I rounded up all the gloves, mittens, heavy coats, boots, and beanies I could find for the kids. It took about 20 minutes to get them all dressed warm enough and 8 minutes for them to be too cold to have fun anymore. 

And yes, I know there are much, much colder places in the world than Texas was that week. But when you grow up in the desert, your blood gets used to the desert. Your clothes are tailored for 40 degree winters and 110+ degree summers. We’re just not built for this.

As the snow piled up outside, the cold set in my insides. I hate being cold. It literally hurts my body. My shoulders and back get tight and tired because I’m constantly trying to keep myself from shivering. This year, my hands even ached. I took to wearing fingerless gloves around the house and smearing some homeopathic hemp-infused ointment on them (it didn’t work).

On a typical day, my body temperature runs 2 degrees lower than the average. I’m usually in the low-mid 96 range. I’m cold natured year-round, so when I get cold, it can be a challenge to warm up to a comfortable temperature. Which is one reason why I am a snuggler. If I crawl in next to my husband and stick my feet against his legs, I can be warm in just a few minutes. I curl up on my side and he throws one arm over me, his body curled around mine. We stay this way for a few minutes while I thaw out, and then he rolls over to his side of the bed. Sometimes he falls asleep against me. I don’t mind. 

It’s almost like I can’t generate enough heat on my own to warm myself up, physically. And you know, the same is true for my spiritual self, as well. I can tromp around doing all the things, but if I’m not reading God’s word and seeking Him, I cannot maintain the right spiritual temperature. 

Before I knew Him, He knew me. He knew that I would be lost, cold, lifeless. Before I knew Him, He loved me and created a Way for me to have hope and life. None of us come into this world equipped to heal our own wounds, to wash away our own sin, or to light an internal fire that sustains and strengthens. We cannot generate that ability on our own.

I cannot. But He can. Because He made a way, I am adopted into His family. I can now draw near to Him and be warmed by Him. I don’t have to face a constant, hopeless, bone-aching cold. God lit the fire, He provided the warmth. Before I even knew to move closer to him, He moved to my side. He positioned Himself to be the lifeforce I need and the warmth I crave.

I need only to draw near.

In my life, that begins with reading His word. Bible reading is foundational. I read at least a short amount of scripture every day. Sometimes, it’s very short, and that’s okay. Because Bible reading is only part of it — it’s the awareness of Him, the knowledge of His Spirit in me, and how that plays out in my thoughts and actions  — that’s the warmth. That’s the daily hope. That’s the sustaining strength. I grow cold and spiritually ambivalent when I neglect this. 

Before I knew I was even cold, God came close. And he, the source of all life and warmth and strength and peace, invites us all to draw nearer still.

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