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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Beauty from Ashes

    Those of you who know me, know that I'm not a big fan of cold weather. Can't say I really like it too hot either, but when it's warm you don't have to shovel snow, or let your vehicle warm up or turn on the heat in your home. Cold weather brings with it a variety of extra problems, frozen pipes, condensation in your fuel tanks, hypothermia, snow covered roads, the list goes on and on. Right now Alaska is in the middle of a pretty good deep freeze. Especially further north. One of my grandsons is living in Fairbanks and according to the local news channel, they can expect from minus thirty to minus fifty degrees over the next few days. No thanks. It's been in the teens here, and that's plenty cold enough for me. With all the troubles that winter can bring, there is also an uncommon amount of beauty, as seen in the above pictures. What is fascinating to me is that all the snow that is depicted here, is made up of individual snow crystals, all of which have six sides, and from what I can gather, no two of which are alike. How can that be? When I think about it, it seems like a miracle.It's quite mind boggling. Look at the design on these snow flakes- they're stunningly beautiful, like works of art, but when the weather warms up, they'll melt away. The same snow flakes that pile up and delay flights and cause highway accidents also water the earth; they keep rivers running and lakes full.They water the land and give life to all of creation. On the one hand they can bring death and destruction and on the other life and beauty. It makes no sense to me. Yesterday I got an email from a lady we met in Idaho, a real estate broker. A nice gal in her seventies, she was still working because she needed to support her invalid son at home. She wrote to apologize because she wouldn't be able to help us anymore in our search for a house, she was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease. She would soon be confined to a wheelchair, and it's all downhill from there. Again, it makes no sense.About six months ago I spoke to the gal who does my taxes. She mentioned her husband was in the hospital. A few months later I called and was told that her husband had passed away. He was only in his fifties. They had just built a house, had recently been married and were planning their lives together.She's devastated and trying to make sense of it all, taking each day as it comes.I offered my condolences and mentioned that I would keep her in my prayers. There's not much more I can do, although it seems inadequate, perhaps because I don't fully understand the power that prayer is. Down through time mankind has struggled with loss. Loss of health, loss of wealth, loss of loved ones and loss of life itself. Who hasn't sat at the sick bed of someone we love or attended the funeral of a close relative or friend? We wonder why did this happen? If God is love, and claims to love us, why all the trouble and sorrow in the world?Great men in the bible asked the same questions. David, a man after God's own heart, was pursued by King Saul who sought his life. Job, a man who God held up as an example to all of heaven, suffered with the loss of his family, all his possessions, and his health, and Joseph, one of the twelve patriarchs of Israel was sold into slavery by his own brothers and thrown into an Egyptian prison for years. Do you think they didn't spend a lot of time asking God why? I bet they did.What none of these men knew at the time was that God was at work for them, using the circumstances for good. David became the second king of Israel. After all his trials, Job was blessed with ten children and twice as much  belongings as he had before. Joseph became second in power in Egypt, saving not only his family from famine, but all of Egypt as well. Jesus said, "in this world you will have trouble, but fear not, I have overcome the world." There are a whole lot of things I have questions about, a lot of things I would change if I could, but fortunately I can't. I don't have the wisdom or foresight to see that what I might view as a disaster is a blessing in disguise. Today's blizzard is providing tomorrow's drinking water. I can't begin to know what will happen in the future, either for these two ladies nor for myself and my family. I can offer my friendship though, and my prayers, which I hope will provide some comfort as we all wait to see how God will move in our behalf.


  1. Recently I read a devotion that pointed out that God didn't promise us a life without troubles, but that he'd see us through the troubles. I hang onto that thought, especially days I surely can't see the Big Picture at all. Good post, Tom.

  2. Hi Jill- thanks. When you're going through the crap that life dishes out, it's easy to forget that we have a heavenly father who cares and has everything under control.