Lessons from the Groundhog

Happy Groundhog Day! To my knowledge, today is the only day where otherwise normal, intelligent people will watch anxiously to see a groundhog predict the weather. Is there a point to it really? Can we learn anything from this funny holiday? Let’s dive in for a minute for a quick lesson on faith and trust.

Fun fact – according to the official Punxsutawney Phil website, he is correct 100% of the time, which makes him much more accurate than human weather forecasters. I also found it interesting that there has only been one Punxsutawney Phil; apparently he is over 131 years old. According to his website, here’s the secret: “Punxsutawney Phil gets his longevity from drinking the “elixir of life,” a secret recipe. Phil takes one sip every summer at the Groundhog Picnic and it magically gives him seven more years of life.” Seriously – I couldn’t even make this up! They should really market this stuff on Amazon; they could make a fortune! You can get more inspiring facts by going to www.groundhog.org.

To me, the groundhog day lore is backwards – if he sees his shadow it means the sun is out which logically tells me that spring is on its way. Nope, it’s the other way around; if the groundhog sees his shadow it means that winter is sticking around.  It comes from early German settlers in Pennsylvania who had a tradition that if the sun shone on Candlemas Day (the day Jesus was presented at the Temple, celebrated on Feb. 2) the snow would swirl in May. There were a lot of groundhogs in the area, so they became the official mascot to report the sunshine. Again, such logic!

The groundhog story, though slightly ridiculous, is fun and I would say that most of us don’t really take it seriously – sorry Phil. Yet we tune in to watch it so that we have some glimpse of what the future looks like, albeit imaginary. Don’t we crave to know the future, to feel like we have some advance warning or even control over what happens to us? As people, I think we all instinctively try to control, it gives us some feeling of power in otherwise powerless circumstances. But, if we claim to follow Christ, is that the right thing? Does that fit with the idea of faith? I have been reading a book by Michele Cushatt entitled, “I Am.” In it, she writes a summary of faith and trust. It is basically everything that I have been processing lately in a concise and eloquent way.

“It’s one thing to talk about faith in a God who comes to our rescue, another to live as if you’re banking on it. Like it or not, we humans rely an awful lot on our ability to control and manage circumstances. Even worry is an effort to control. But real faith is letting go. A releasing of the what-ifs when everything in you wants to tighten your grip. It’s allowing yourself to free fall into the unknown because you have absolute confidence that waiting at the other end are arms big enough to catch you, help you, and make you whole.” (“I Am,” page 135).

Real life and real trust is tough. Trusting God means not trying to take over the driver’s seat of life. Have you ever felt that God got something wrong? If we were honest, I think we could all admit to times where we wish we had been running the world. We would have prevented some disaster or decision or illness. We would have come to someone’s rescue instead of letting tragedy strike. If you have ever questioned God (and who hasn’t) you aren’t really trusting Him. Trust is letting go. Period. Click To Tweet

We don’t know the future and we don’t really have control of the present, and that’s ok. We have a God that we can trust. We don’t understand everything that He does or allows to happen, but we do know that He is love and He loves us.

When we really do let go and trust, it brings rest. If there is something that you are desperately holding onto, maybe it’s time to let go. I’m not saying it’s easy, but trusting God will bring peace. May you find your rest in Christ today!

If you are struggling today, I would feel honored to pray for you. You can send me a confidential email at mk@meschellekolb.com and I will join you in prayer. Remember, God is good!

What do you think?

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