It is March. It makes me think of last year this time. It was actually almost exactly one year ago today. Following a week of mild weather where most of our accumulated snow finally disappeared, it did the unthinkable for March: It snowed!
My wife called it a “beautiful snow”. There wasn’t a touch of wind, and she described the world outside as quickly transforming into a winter wonderland. She said that the way the cottony-white stuff stuck to the tree limbs made her think of Christmas. In fact, she even began singing: “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!” I don’t suppose it helped any that our neighbours across the road, who hadn’t yet taken down their Christmas lights, turned them back on!
It’s interesting to think that had this happened in December, everyone, including me, would have been excited. We all long for fresh snow around Christmastime, especially the beautiful kind like we had right then. Somehow, however, this same snow in mid-March just didn’t seem quite as welcome… Especially after all those mild days that melted most of winter’s snow…
There was one class of people, however, who were excited by the snow: The kids! Especially because this was the sticky kind that is good for snowball fights, snow forts and snowmen!
No matter what bad things happen in life, if you take the time and make the effort to look, you will see many ways in which God has gone out of His way to make things as special as possible.
Take my mother-in-law’s death, for example. She made her trip to Heaven two years ago at Christmas. After the initial shock and all the questions of, “Why God? Why now?”, we began to see a pattern. Who would have known then that COVID would linger on for another 12-18 months? What a blessing to her to not have to deal with that much more isolation! And God planned it for right after Christmas. That Christmas day before she went in the hospital, she talked with all of her grandkids and kids, and she was so happy. The night before we had celebrated Christmas Eve with her and our older son. Our younger son and his wife, who live in in Western Canada, were projected in real time on the wall. They would later thank God for COVID at Christmastime. You see as a pastor, this particular son usually can’t celebrate Christmas with us due to his church responsibilities. They usually fly out after the fact, and we always end up celebrating Christmas on New Years. If that had been the case the year my mother-in-law passed away, she would have missed Christmas altogether, for at New Years time, we were busy planning her funeral. With COVID preventing our western kids from coming out, we could celebrate on the actual day, and grandma was able to celebrate with them. God also arranged that the housing market would skyrocket just at the moment when her condo would go up for sale, causing it to sell in 3 days at 60K over asking price. I could go on, but the point is, even though bad things happen, God puts beauty into them. Our job is to look and to say thanks!
Okay, I guess that means I need to look for the beauty in the mid-march snow… And now that I’m looking at the picture my wife took through the window, I do see the charm…
The Bible says, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:13 NIV — emphasis added). Yup, that means to give thanks when there’s been illness and death. We aren’t told to thank God for the illness or the death, but to thank Him for the many blessings He pours out upon us during these times and to thank Him for the years of good health, for the years of happiness with that person, etc.
And I suppose I need to do some thanking as well… Yup! For that March snow! I didn’t have to thank God for the snow, but I sure could thank Him for the happiness I saw in the children. I could thank Him for the warm house that kept me sheltered from the white, fluffy stuff. And I could also thank Him that it was such a beautiful snow, for while He was busy blessing the kids, He wasn’t totally forgetting about the adults who really didn’t want to see more snow! Rather, He created the special, beautiful kind, the kind that makes us think of Christmas and the time of His birth!
What bad circumstances are you facing? Don’t forget to watch and see where God has put some bright spots into your dark times, and then be sure to give Him thanks!
In His love,
Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries