y wife has decided she likes winter snows. Me? Not so much… Yet here I am again, writing about winter when it is still late summer/early fall… What can I say? The message this story speaks is not only for winter time, but for ALL seasons of the year! And perhaps it will help us to see the beauty in the storms…
It was mid-January. I wasn’t venturing out much after being inundated with what would be called, “The blizzard of the decade”. Naturally my wife insisted that we go out for regular walks; but we pretty much stayed close to home due to the snow and ice on the roads and sidewalks. We did venture out by car a few times, and one such trip took us to a crossing of the trail we like to walk. My wife was excited to see that others had compacted the trail enough to make a walking passage through the snow, and even though I tried to talk her out of it, the next day found us headed out for our walk on that trail.
I grimaced from my position at the car as she scampered on down the trail. Wait … Was she … laughing? In this cold? With this much snow on the ground? But not wanting to be left behind, I set out. The only problem was that my big boots sank right through to the trail, 20 cm (8″) down. Each step was slow and laborious, and by the third step in, my boots were full of snow … outside AND in!
My wife stopped about 30 metres (90′) up the trail and turned back. She seemed oblivious to my difficulties, as she called out with a cheerful, “This is beautiful!”
I grunted and continued to focus my attention on liberating my boot, preferable without the suctioning action of the snow pulling it off my foot, as I laboured forward, one tiny step at a time.
My wife was still grinning when I finally reached her. She dropped a peck on my check, then turned and scampered on.
She didn’t seem to be falling through the crust on snow like I was, which I attributed to the fact that she weighs about 20 kg (50 lbs) less than me (and no, I’m not overly heavy … she’s just overly … not!). And so it continued. Every 30 metres or so she would stop and wait for me to slog up, then she would flash me a quick smile — which might have been contagious under different circumstances — and scamper on.
It took about five rounds of this before she finally began to read my face enough to realize I wasn’t having as much fun as she was. And because she isn’t sadistic by nature, she insisted we turn around and head back to a less snow-covered route.
I didn’t really want to. I was kind of enjoying watching her have fun; but by this time my poor feet were freezing from all the snow that kept getting into my boots, and I reluctantly agreed.
She was behind me now, so she was forced to go my pace. After awhile, though, I didn’t hear her behind me. I turned to see that she had stopped a few paces back and was busily snapping pictures on her phone. It took me a moment to get my mind off my soggy, freezing feet and the amount of effort afforded to each step I took; but I did eventually realize that it was actually beautiful out there…
We carried on a few more paces, and once again I didn’t hear her behind me. I couldn’t stop my mouth from hanging open this time when I turned and saw her actually … laying down in the snow! She was waving her arms and legs back and forth and laughing with glee. “I’m making a snow angel!” she called, once she realized she had my attention. “Isn’t it fun?”
That seemingly endless track back to the car eventually did end, and my wife and I then completed our walk down the country road and back, on a paved surface that only had about 2 cm (1″) of snow. All along the way, however, she kept stopping to snap pictures on her phone, ever exclaiming about the beauty of the snow…
So what was the difference here? I mean, my wife and I were walking the same paths through the same scenery, and although her effort on the trail had been less than mine, we were both dealing with the same cold and the same biting wind… The difference lie in the fact that she wasn’t focusing on the negative parts of the walk. Rather, she only seemed to see — or perhaps only chose to see — the positives. As a result, where I couldn’t wait to finish the walk and be back home again, she was actually having fun.
It made me realize something vitally important: When we focus on our negative circumstances, it robs us of any beautiful that there might be.
And since I realize this is truly September, and northern hemisphere snows are still months away, let’s put this in a summer/fall perspective. Life’s storms are always there. Although we sometimes get a few weeks, and if we are lucky, a few months, of reprieve, we always know that they will return. Maybe the new storm won’t be the same as the last one, but it will be devastating. However, whether it be relationship problems, illness or other medical conditions, financial issues or world issues, or whatever it may be; if we make the effort to look, we will always be able to find beauty in our circumstances.
Okay. Please understand that I am painfully aware that there’s nothing beautiful about watching a loved one die of cancer. But there is beauty in the kindness shown by hospice workers. There is beauty in how we can see and feel God’s hands holding us up, helping us through, giving us the strength that we need. There is beauty when we see God’s hands calming our loved one’s fears and giving them reprieve from their pain, and there is beauty in the peace we may read on their faces.
Let’s remember, however trite this example may be in the face of the seriousness of your current storms, that my wife and I were walking through the same snow. Our differences in attitude and our overall level of contentment was related to what we focused on. Where I saw only wet feet, cold, biting winds and endless effort, my wife saw beauty. She saw picture opportunities. Hey! She even forgot she is going to be 60 soon, and she made a snow angel! It is the same, no matter what the storm. When we choose to look beyond the very negative circumstances, we will see that God is there. He is holding us up, He will get us through and provide for all of our needs along the way. When we choose to put our faith in God, then no matter how “wet” and “cold” the life-storm may leave us feeling, we can find peace. Contentment. Even joy.
Hasn’t God promised: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)?
Whatever it is you face right now, remember our snowy walk, and choose to be a bit more like my wife. Search for God’s hand in your bad circumstances and put your trust in Him. Then be prepared for Him to bring you through with peace in your heart.
In His love,
Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries