Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Winter's Warning

After a long, warm, breathtakingly gorgeous autumn, winter snuck up on me today.

 Winter does that—it kind of sneaks up.
In 2 Timothy 4, Paul—who’d been stoned, shipwrecked, and seized—now lay chained in a cold, dank prison under the Emperor Nero. In his loneliness and anticipation of winter, he beckons Timothy to join him and bring the bare essentials that he knows he’ll need to get through. Though only a few things, they’re worth noting.
“When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas...”
Winter doesn’t always come skulking its way into November. There’s a coldness of heart that can capture the soul in a spiritual dungeon. And in the iciness of the moment, we long for a covering—a covering that’s warm, that will protect us. Paul needed a real, seriously warm garment. For the winters of the spirit, that warmth could be a number of things—but it must be warm; it must protect.
“…and my scrolls, especially the parchments.”
During the warm and playful seasons, we might not hunger for the Word—but not in winter. In the winters of my life, I’ve sucked in the words of the Bible—searching—seeking—desiring wisdom, desiring comfort, desiring the very presence of the Holy Spirit.
Paul was wise; he wanted the scrolls early. He wanted them before winter. But, maybe the one thing he wished for the most was Timothy himself. Twice he beseeches him: “Do your best to come to me quickly.” “Do your best to get here before winter.”
Life can carry us down roads we do not wish to travel. Read 2 Timothy 4 to hear the urgency in Paul’s voice.
Winter—the winters of the soul—
Paul anticipated winter and what he knew he’d need to make it through: a cloak, the Word, a dear friend.
And maybe the smartest thing of all is that he knew he needed them before the deep chill. Perhaps he felt the cold dankness of his cell that warned of the coming freeze.
Good advice from a man, close to death, anticipating winter.
—a cloak, the Word, a friend.
Secure them now—because winter has a way of sneaking up on us.

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