_Faith like Esther.
This past week it snowed. Not really that unusual seeing that I live in Wisconsin. However, what was unusual about this snowfall is that it happened prior to the leaves falling off of the trees. The result was snow on the ground and colorful leaves on the trees. And then the leaves started to fall onto the snow. I can picture the leaves feeling as if they weren’t ready to fall onto damp, wet snow. They still had beauty to display themselves on the brown tree branches. They hadn’t clapped enough in the crisp cool air to be ready to fall into the next season.
Have you ever felt like the leaves? Did you feel like things were going great and perhaps you were clapping and singing a song with the way your life or current situation was turning out to be?
And then it snowed?
You didn’t have a choice. No matter what you tried to do and how you attempted to manipulate the circumstances you just couldn’t hold on any longer? Have you been forced into a winter season that you weren’t prepared for? I am sure this isn’t a one time thing in our lives. Actually, I don’t know if we are ever really prepared for winter. We think we have the warmest coats, the best accessories and the Christmas decorations to keep us happy...but ultimately, isn’t cold...just cold. How do we alleviate our sufferings in seasons of trial? How can we truly prepare for the unknown? How can we embrace a season that we weren’t ready for?
Shawn Deane from Bethesda Senior Living Communities said this “The consistency of the earth’s seasons is a reflection of it’s Maker and the steadiness of his character”. I do agree with this statement and I have thought of this before when thinking of the consistency of the rising and setting sun. Even those that don’t believe in God believe that the sun will rise and set each day as it has always done. But I also know that when it snows before the leaves fall- it hurts. Perhaps you have been in the place where you doubt God and his goodness when things don’t feel good? It is so hard to trust when things don’t feel like they are right and true. Perhaps someone did something else to you and the wounds are so deep you can’t even imagine them turning into scars one day that just represent a wound that once was. But let’s also remember that even when people choose things that are not good and make us feel hurt and bruised- God can still be good. He is good and wants different things for you. He doesn’t always cause things to happen, but I believe that he can use whatever happened to still bring us goodness.
I hope I am not rambling and I don’t really have all of the answers friends. But what I can tell you is that while I was contemplating the strange weather phenomenon I couldn’t help but see the beauty. I stopped. I took pictures. Many of them. The color of the leaves shown even brighter against the white snow than it did against the green grass or against the brown of the branches in the trees. The vibrancy of the oranges, reds, yellows and greens almost sang a chorus straight to my heart about how God still gives us beauty even when we weren’t ready for the trials that surprised us.
If your heart is aching, if your days are longer than you would like them to be, if you worry about how you’ll make it through or wonder if your season will ever change to Spring...this post is for you. Friends, I am praying that even amidst your deepest pain, God shows you something beautiful. Perhaps he has shown it to you but you haven’t admired it long enough to take a picture? Do you have loving friendships that keep you encouraged? Do you have the provision of good finances? Do you have a solid faith foundation? Do you have a team of nurses and doctors who show care and compassion while your child is undergoing treatments? Do you take moments to ponder the beauty before you?
While I’d like to say that once you find the beauty in the suffering, that your tears will stop and your season starts to change. Oh friends, I don’t know how long your season will last or what is to come for you. But I do know that this is where God changes us. This is where we are stretched. This is where we are pulled nearer to his heart and the lover of our souls. Only he can satisfy these deep longings of our inner selves… and it is here where he plants beauty that only he can grow.
WIll you ask him to show you the beauty? Keep consistent praying the prayer and open your hearts to the still, small voice.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
May this season draw you closer to the heavens friend.