But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.

Malachi 4: 2


Leaping like calves. What an image that brings to mind! There are all of those young animals bounding and bucking as they are set free from the confinement of the stall. They have unstoppable energy and the appearance of total joy. How different is this from the scene that our neighbors see as we head out to start our days. This is especially true at this time of year when the days are short, dark, and cold. It is easy to start out the day with a sense of tiredness that is left over from the day before and with dread at the thought of the drain on energy that coping with life is about to cause. As dark mornings give way to black nights and the interval between is gray or illuminated by a heatless sun, it is easy to lose energy and to feel the force and the effects of down or even depressive thoughts.


This winter state of being is also the reality of living in a world where the days have been made short by sin and there is a continual cloud of spiritual darkness hanging about. People make decisions that are based upon their ease and comfort. They chart the course of their lives from a point of view that is intended to produce instant pleasure and gratification. The future is too vague and uncertain to entertain and righteousness is too readily defined in individual and personal terms. Too many people are trapped in this winter of the soul. Far too many of them are people who know Christ but who choose to distrust His call to stand firm on the platform of God’s truth. Most of us will encounter people who are living in this place. Everyone is faced with decisions that can lead to it.


The answer that Malachi states is a very old one. Yet it is foundational to the way that God interacts with people. Thus it is never out dated and always applicable to each and every one of our lives. To fear God’s name is to hold and to contemplate Him with respect and with a deep-seated sense of humility and gratitude. This requires us to continually focus on who He is and on how the Lord works in our lives. This way of thinking is infused into our hearts and minds as we drink deeply from His Word and open our most intimate places to its instruction. The sort of growth that is involved in this process never stops. It is the calling of a lifetime. It demands to be our primary daily practice, and it promises us that we will gain continual relationship with Christ. The brightness, heat, and empowerment of the Son of Righteousness will be ours constantly. Although the days may be dark, in His presence our spirits can bound like those young calves, and with His truth we can face the storm of broken lives that surrounds us.