Warm Mittens

It’s getting colder now, especially at night. This past weekend we unearthed a tote from the depths of our downstairs closet revealing hats and mittens, scarves and coats. Providing protection from the elements is important when living in Canada. Change is on the horizon, and as much as we would like to enjoy the fall weather forever, we know what’s coming…winter.

I’m not a fan of winter. The icy streets, the freezing air, the mountains of snow piled high everywhere – it’s not my favorite season, especially because we can have snow for six months of the year. I dislike having so few hours of sunlight, and having so many days where the sky is not blue but a pale grey. No matter how warm our winter clothes are, I’ll probably never warm up to winter.

As I passed out winter gear, everyone seemed indifferent, except for one. My oldest son grabbed his winter hat and gloves and exclaimed, “I’m so glad to have these back! I missed them!” I will admit, it threw me off beat. Why on earth would anyone miss winter clothes? But then he proceeded to tell me how cold he’d been when walking the therapy dog at school and how his heart was warm but his hands were freezing. He finished with a huge grin and said, “WORTH IT!”

I thought about his comment the rest of the weekend. How many times I been uncomfortable, or going through something, only to happily declare it was worth it in the end? And how could my heart have been warmed and at peace if only I’d trusted and understood the Lord’s protection?

I look up to the mountains – does my help from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!

He will not let you stumble, the One who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, He who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.

The Lord Himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, or the moon at night.

The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.

Psalm 121

I often take the Lord’s protection for granted. I’m the kind of person who lives in the day to day, the here and now. And sometimes, when you’re living life like that it’s hard to see it even as it’s happening. It’s not some big, grand tale of protection.

When I think have an impressive story of protction, I’m reminded of Desmond Doss, a medic in world war two. He was a conscientious objector, and refused to carry a gun. This posed some problems for Doss as he was assigned to an infantry rifle company – no one wanted to fight beside someone who wasn’t carrying a weapon and couldn’t protect them. His fellow soldiers abused and mocked him, and he was even court martialed for failure to obey orders. But Desmond Doss believed strongly in the command from God not to kill, and persevered all obstacles until he and his company were standing on the battlefield in Okinawa. The assignment was to capture and maintain a rock formation they’d termed “Hacksaw Ridge.” Due to poor visability, rough terrain, and a vigilant enemy they were having difficulty. After a small victory, they were shocked by a brutal counter attack and were ordred to retreat back over the edge of the cliff. All able soldiers, excluding Doss, scrambled off that ridge leaving two thirds scattered across the battlefield, wounded and seemingly forgotten. Desmond Doss prayed continually to save “just one more” of his wounded fellow soldiers, sneaking around enemy territory to administer care, under heavy fire and so close he could hear the Japanese whispering to each other. He saved at least 75 people on that day, and all without a weapon to protect himself. A few days later, Doss was wounded and unable to continue, but not before he saved many more. After the war, he was awarded several medals for his efforts. But of his heroism, Desmond says it was nothing – he would risk his own life so another could live because that is what God had asked of him.

The God who protected Desmond Doss from his enemy is the same today. If I look back over my life, I can see His hand of protection in areas where I didn’t even know I needed protection from!

We are walking through a difficult season in our family right now. Every morning of each day, I pray for protection over my husband and my children. I pray Psalm 121 over them and have even hand written these verse for each of them to keep for themselves. When my children are struggling through something, I’m going to stand by their side and do everything I can do to help them. But I need sleep, and I need rest, and I can’t be with them every second of every day. It’s so good to be reminded of a Proector who never leaves our side who doesn’t need to sleep like we do.

When we pray for the Lord’s protection, no weapon formed against us will succeed, and He will silence the voices of our accusers (Isaiah 54:17). When we pray for the Lord’s protection, we don’t need to panic or be fearful because He personally goes ahead of us and doesn’t abandon us (Dueteronomy 31:6). When we pray for the Lord’s protection, He sheilds us and we are safe (Proverbs 30:5). When we pray for the Lord’s protection, the evil one cannot touch us (1 John 5:18).

My son delights in the warmth provided by his winter coat, hat and mittens. He happily puts on each one, knowing full well he will be protected from the cold wind and wintry air outside. Just as warm mittens protect our hands from frostbite, the Lord protects us against the trappings of the world. If we can protect our bodies like this without a second thought, why do we often forget to protect our hearts and our lives when we pray?

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