Randy and Katy Smelser

Americans living in Germany but citizens of heaven

Prodding Along

January is a month of prodding. Things in nature are slow, not much happening in the backyard. The sky is gray and the sun hardly makes it up over the horizon and seldom over the house and tree tops in the southern sky. This year was especially slow as my iron levels dipped dangerously low. With little iron one has too few red blood cells causing exhaustion, irritability, lack of motivation and not enough oxygen to the brain. My body was already run down from the running around of the Christmas Season and leading the Mid-Winter Rally. Along with this normal stress were several months of one conflict after another in the church. None of them alone was that bad but the cumulative effect was nearing the straw that finally broke the camel’s back.

So the month was slow and although several things were accomplished, the feeling was one of “just put one foot in front of the other”, “just don’t stop even if it is slow.” Prodding – no real fun, no feelings of success or of making any progress. Faithfulness was called for.

Isn’t a lot of our lives like this. Of course we love the merry month of May with the fresh greens and the warm sun and the energy all around. But much of our lives are January’s. We hunger for the mountain top experiences while we just keep putting one foot in front of the other – just doing what we know is right and good, even if we see no purpose and feel no gain.

Part of the problem with our present world is refusal to accept January. We do not want to prod. We want highlife and excitement. Chasing after newness and fun. But the January’s can also give us the down time we need to be prepared for the rest of the year. The instant, gratification right now is sick and can be deadly. If our bodies are screaming for rest and a slow pace maybe that is warning to follow the example of nature and chill out in January.

Fortunately January has come to an end. The conflicts in the church have calmed down. The iron pills are taking effect. The sun is higher in the sky and the days are longer. The prodding has picked up and things are looking up as February has come.