Written and Shared by: Chaplain Chris Belfield
I have loved reading and studying history – particularly military history – since the first time I remember reading a book. It was one of the very few subjects that I really enjoyed, and I must humbly add – excelled at. Perhaps that's one reason my first career was in the military and why I got a graduate degree in military history. Many repetitive themes in military history and thousands of books and hundreds of films have been dedicated to these themes. One of the more popular themes covered in hindsight is referred to as, "The Turning Point." This usually is a single significant event or a connected series of events that dramatically change a situation's outcome. When studying military history, there are three predominant aspects to be learned. These being, what caused the military situation? What was the turning point in the conflict? And how was the dispute ultimately resolved? Of course, the concept of the turning point applies to more than military history. Our recent political history will reflect a turning point that culminated in the final election results. When history is written, we will also see the same applied to the pandemic in which we find ourselves at the present moment. But this is an encouragement, not a discourse on history.
Allow me to observe that we have had our own turning point on the magnificent North Shore, so to speak. We have seen the temperatures finally climb back into the positive number's region within the past week.
In fact, as I write this, the sun is bright, and the temperature is in the teens. The fortune-tellers at the National Weather Service are encouraged enough to forecast a slow but steady temperature increase for the remainder of the month. They are even so daring as to state that beginning this Saturday evening, the lows each evening will still be above zero. As if to confirm this information, there has been a marked increase in bird and squirrel activity. The vole has once again shown itself. Eagles are once again soaring the thermals along the shoreline, while snow is beginning to recede back from the roadways due to sublimation's assistance from the sun's UV rays. The past several weeks have certainly been trying, to say
the least. Many had vehicles that wouldn't start and furnaces that needed immediate attention. We found out which cold weather gloves really worked and which ones were for show with impressive names and little else. We came to dearly appreciate the woolen scarves a considerate sister-in-law in Virginia hand knitted for us during the bitterest cold. I used to scoff at wool knit hats to cover the head and ears and "bombardier" hats with flaps on either side. Now they are our best friends. Oh, and thanks to the USAF
for the cold weather thermals they issued to all of us stationed in North Dakota. They are still working great 24 years later. So, yes, we have had our turning point for this winter with the annual polar vortex event. Of course, winter still has another 31 days, and we almost always have a spring snowstorm. But we earnestly believe the worst has come and gone.
This is encouraging news for us on the North Shore, but not elsewhere. I venture to say that we either have relatives or know someone in the south is experiencing their own worst part of winter right now. The difference is that they are not prepared for a northern Minnesota winter. Still, nonetheless, they are right in the middle of it. Now is when we reach out to our neighbors down south and help in any way we can. We are all one nation under God, called to help each other as best we can. I know that there will be a turning point regarding the weather battering the country. There will be a turning point for the pandemic vaccinations, a turning point for the schools reopening for the children, a turning point for unity in our country, and finally – a turning point for turning to God and seeking him.
Our encouragement verse for this week is:
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
May you be blessed by God's word.