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Northern Light

Seeing What We’re Missing

Winter has finally arrived full force on the North Shore. Fresh, heavy wet snow weighs down the branches of the spruce and balsam and cedar trees in the woods across the parking lot from my office window. It looks like Christmas. Of course, it almost is Christmas, so it’s about time!

Snow is not my favorite thing. Some people love snow and all the possibilities snowfall presents. Me? Not a fan. I endure winter. I shovel winter. I shiver winter. I lament winter. Long dark days, some of them well below the zero degrees temp and many of them buried in snow, these are not a few of my favorite things. However, I was doing some thinking this morning that may require a dramatic transformation in my attitude about winter, and life in general.

The day started out rainy. Yes, I know, rain on December 6th in northern Minnesota is just begging to become heavy wet snow, but it hadn’t yet as I sat in my below ground office at home and looked up at the droplets easing their way through the branches above. This thought came to mind: “I wonder what glory we will find beyond the rain? I wonder what evidence of the hand of God we will see when the rain is over and the weather turns nice again.” Biting at the heels of that thought came this one: “Why do you look for the glory beyond the rain and not IN the rain?”

So many folks today living in fear of the metaphorical “rain,” looking for something good in their lives, but only after the “rain,” the adversities and difficulties of life, pass. Why do we not look for the glory of God, the goodness of God, the wonder of God, the hand of God in the rain? In the adversities? In the difficulties? In the prevailing conditions of our daily lives? Why are we always looking beyond today for tomorrow’s joys as if today and today’s conditions hold no joy of their own? Is not God who is God of the rainbow not also God of the rain?

So, I look at the snow and I say, “Ugh!” Perhaps it is time to look at snow, at rain, at the prevailing conditions of life in the moment and go, “Hmm. What glory and joy is present here?” What do I have on a snowy day that I don’t have on a windy day, or a sunny day, or a rainy day? What good is God doing in this moment in my personal history that is uniquely glorious? What will I miss if I overlook Him in this moment under these conditions? What faith will I trade for fear? What peace will I abandon for anxiety? What grace will I pass for effort?

Snow. It may not be a nasty, four letter word after all. It may be an occasion to see what I’ve been missing.

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