October 22, 2019
The Unexpected Beauty of a Winter Storm
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11, NIV).
Friend to Friend
The view took my breath away. For two hours, I’d been hiking one of Colorado’s many hiking trails, backpack-laden, sweat dripping, calves burning. In the span of two miles, I’d climbed nearly a thousand vertical feet, not a small accomplishment considering the rocky terrain and incline. Each step required intentionality, each move complete focus.
Not to mention breathing.High-altitude breathing. Trust me when I say it’s hard to get oxygen that high in the sky.
But the view at the top made all the sweat and struggle of the two hours before worth the effort. Spread out in front of me sat the entire Breckenridge Valley, the ski slopes carving up one side, the tops of various other mountain peaks dotting the other. I could see the winding stretch of highway weaving in and out of the trees below, looking like a long grey snake warming himself in the sun. A few lakes dotted the scene as well as the first signs of trees prepping to turn the colors of fall.
As I said, breathtaking. But what captivated my attention most wasn’t the mountain tops or pine trees.
It was the wildflowers. Long, lush stretches of purples, greens, yellows, pinks and blues covering the rocky terrain with a blanket of color. Exquisite.
According to recent news reports, Colorado was enjoying one of its best wildflower displays in recent history. Multiple local sources recommended Coloradans head outside to check out the show.
The reason for this unexpected spread of color?
Last winter’s brutal snows.
The reason I could climb a mountain and enjoy unprecedented color was because of a long, hard, snowy season just a handful of months before. From November through April, we endured one of the heaviest snow seasons in the Rocky Mountains. And all that moisture prepped the soil for Spring’s glorious flowers. Without all the snow, I would’ve enjoyed a nice hike and lovely mountain scene. But without the breathtaking color.
It isn’t easy to savor the harsh seasons when we’re in the middle of them. We’d rather dream of spring and summer, pine over what we wish for rather than appreciate what is. Winter seasons can be long, lonely, dark, and cold. How can we savor it?
By remembering: The beauty of tomorrow often lies in the rain and snow of today.
We don’t have to enjoy it, we don’t have to always dance in it. But we can learn to weather it, to see its value, and maybe even give God our heartfelt thanks.
Because, in due time, the snow that falls today will turn into a beautiful spread of color and new life tomorrow.
Dear Lord, I can easily become so consumed with my current circumstances that I fail to see how You might use them for growth and new life tomorrow. Forgive my lack of faith. And teach me to trust that Your purposes will be accomplished, through the good days and the hard ones, always. I’m so glad my life sits safely in Your hands.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Take a moment to consider one of the biggest challenges or obstacles you face right now. Validate the difficulty of this moment. But then imagine how God might use this for growth, depth, and new life tomorrow. Can’t find any glimmer of wildflowers? Ask God to open your eyes to see what He sees.
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A storyteller at heart, Michele Cushatt writes and speaks on the necessity of perseverance, relationship, and faith in the hard places. A three-time tongue cancer survivor and mama to children "from hard places," Michele is a (reluctant) expert of pain, trauma and our deep human need for real connection. She lives in Colorado with her husband and their six children, ages 12 to 27. If you’ve ever questioned God’s presence in the middle of your pain, pre-order Michele’s newest book RELENTLESS: The Unshakeable Presence of a God Who Never Leaves today, releasing November 12, 2019. He is with us.
Originally published Tuesday, 22 October 2019.