Then it snowed anound 6 inches the next Thursday. And on top of that, we got 6 MORE inches on Saturday. I didn't want to miss church again. I hate the idea of everyone else making it in and I being the wienie who couldn't risk getting out of my driveway. I struggle with self-condemnation anyway and tend to beat myself up if others are making a sacrifice I feel that I should have been able to make.
In light of all that, I got the neatest email from my church on Saturday. It said something to the effect that all events were cancelled, stay home, and play in the snow. In light of my own church background and my tendency toward self-condemnation, this proclamation really ministered grace to me. I have grown up around a mentality that the more spiritual you are, the more you will endure to get to church. So those who are willing to risk getting stuck in the snow and potential hypothermia apparently love God more than those who opt to stay home in inclement weather. I have bought into that mentality for years, feeling particularly guilty when I was the one at home. However, as I examine that mentality against the gospel, I recognize that it is very much opposed to the truth of what we have in Christ.
I don't earn God's extra favor on me by trudging through the snow to church. I don't prove my love for Him by making such sacrifices either. The Bible has a much simpler litmus test for showing my committment as His disciple.
John 13:35 "By this will all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
I felt very loved by my church leaders when they told me to stay home and be safe. Their love and concern for my safety is also, according to this Scripture, testament that they are authentic disciples of Christ. They were living in light of the grace of the gospel, reminding me that I don't earn special favor from God for making unsafe choices for my family. All of my standing before God is earned by Christ's righteousness applied to my account. In light of that, I can REST. I don't have to strive to prove myself to Him. Jesus has proven Himself for me.
I hope you too are staying safe and warm in this crazy weather. And I hope you remember during this season of many obligations that you don't earn God's favor by burning the rope at both ends. Rest, dear sister. And please someone remind me of this when I start getting caught up again in the rat race of life once all this snow melts.
Happy New Year!
**Update--if your church had services during bad weather, please don't read this post as a condemnation of that (unless they implied that the people who came were more spiritual). I think most reading this blog love their church and would be disappointed if they couldn't go.