If you’re a fan of the Little House on the Prairie books, you’ll remember the blizzard that forced Pa to tie a rope connecting the house and the barn, so that he wouldn’t get lost when he went outside to care for the livestock. White outs aren’t fictional; visibility in a snowstorm can be reduced to feet instead of miles.
In blizzard country, it can snow and blow until you lose sight of the horizon, as it did here two weeks ago. I measured the increasing severity of the storm by objects I lost sight of–first the horizon, then the neighbors’ houses, then the road, and, last, the trees in front of our house. A white out. A foot of snow fell overnight and into the next day, and the wind whipped the tiny flakes into drifts four feet high.
It’s easy to lose perspective when your world becomes smaller and smaller, when all you see are the storms of life roaring around you, when the barn disappears.
Maybe a loved one has died.
Maybe you face a seemingly endless task of caring for family members.
Maybe your financial situation is precarious.
Maybe the results of the latest lab test are disheartening.
Maybe family members who should have loved you, haven’t.
Maybe the doctors are mystified and can’t figure it out what “it” is.
Sometimes I feel like Laura, peering through the frosted window, struggling to see the barn during a white out. I begin to doubt God’s love and care for me when I am in the middle of great trials. At times I empathize with Job, thinking that God
. . . would crush me with a storm
and multiply my wounds for no reason.
Job 9:17 NIV
Eventually, storms end. Skies clear. Howling winds subside. What is left behind?
Drifts of sparkling snow,
gorgeous blue shadows,
bright, moonlit nights.
What is left when our personal trials pass? If we cooperate with God and allow him to work in us, the beauty of a changed character remains. God can take the inevitable storms and use them to transform us.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4 NIV
James speaks of a joy during trials, a joy that is hard to imagine when we are in the middle of a difficult time. But this joy isn’t the same as gleeful happiness. In fact, we may actually be in pain.
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
I Peter 1:6 NIV
We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
Romans 5:3-5 MSG
Who wouldn’t want to be more patient, more mature? Who wouldn’t want to persevere and have a stronger faith?
Me. Sometimes. I can get so tired in the middle of the blizzard, I lose my perspective, and I don’t want to move forward. Those are the times you can pray for me, and if you get disoriented and weary during stormy trials, I’ll pray for you. And during the next white out, let’s follow that rope to the barn.
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Posted on February 11, 2015, in Devotional and tagged joy, snow, storm, trials, white out. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.
I always love to look at the untouched beauty that exists after a snow storm. Your pictures are gorgeous.
Something you shared really touched me.. this rope that that tethers us to grace, it is meant to hold on to us during the storm, not so much we holding on to it. Just like the LORD who never leaves us but gently pulls us close into the shelter of His embrace.
Praying that during the trials, the storm, and the blizzard moments you feel the embrace of the Holy One placing a strong hold upon you and pulling you into the shelter of His arms.
Thank you, so much, Dawn, for your kind words. What a lovely insight you have about the active love of God, pulling us close. I appreciate your prayer so much.
I still love your pictures, how to image the biblical texts . A bit like Jesus when he told his parables . One way to help us understand and make our own values and divine principles . And so, thank’s Constance 😉
Thank you, Christiane! Bless you for your encouraging words. I do hope readers can understand a little more of the Bible and be able to apply it to their own lives.
How familiar those photos taken during the storm and after the storm are to me, having spent my first 18 winters living in the Iowa country, five miles from Iowa Falls on a gravel road. What is more lonely and isolating than being stuck in the middle of a snowstorm? But oh, the glorious morning after when the winds die down and the clouds clear! I find it interesting (alarming?) that God keeps bringing verses and themes of suffering before me. I am trying to embrace whatever it is He is trying to teach me/prepare me for (yikes, I can’t believe I put that in print!) p.s. fave photos – frozen berries and headstone with shaft of light
During the last couple weeks, I kept seeing the verses in James about going through trials. I wish there were an easier way for my character to be refined and my faith to be tested. But since we will all have trials (it’s the human condition in a fallen world), I hope/choose that the trials produce fruit rather than go to waste.
Constance, I remember that part of the Little House series. I read the books to my children. And thank you for reminding us to hold onto the rope of faith as we go through storms. Love, love, love your pictures. Sometimes it’s the uncertainty that tempts me to fear the most, but I’m slowly learning to focus on the certainty of His Presence instead.
Blessings ~ Wendy ❀
Thanks, Wendy, for your encouragement. You are so right that we need to hold onto the rope of faith instead of focusing on the latest weather forecast.
So very true! Great post.
Thanks for reading, Christine, and for taking the time to comment.
Lovely post, and comments, Constance. I hope you have weathered the storm. Thank you for sharing this. The apostle Paul faced “fightings without and fears within” and rejoiced all the more in all his tribulation. Hard words to live up to, “Nevertheless God (the God of all comfort – gives comfort)..” 2Cor.7:5-6
I had forgotten about these verses, Joyce. I appreciate the reminder! I guess we all have troubles (external and internal) and we all have access to the comfort that God provides. Some of that comfort comes through the encouragement and concern of fellow believers like you. Thanks!