It is winter, and for many across the nation, winter means snow.
However, here in southeast Texas, snow is a rare event that happens maybe once a decade. There are a lot of good things about being here, but no one visits this part of the world to see our snowy winter landscapes. It’s just not a thing.
That is one reason why my son, who is Texas born and raised, is always eager for a chance to visit a place that does have snow. This past year, we thought for certain we would see some snow; we spent Thanksgiving with friends in Montana, and driving through Colorado and Wyoming to get there, it was almost certain we would see snowman worthy precipitation. These were places where there had already been a bit of accumulation, and we were sure to see something.
Except . . . we didn’t.
The weather in Billings, Montana over Thanksgiving was warmer than the weather in Houston. Even the Big Horn and Rocky Mountains had lost their snow caps. That part of the country is beautiful in every way, but during our visit this beauty contained not even a hint of snow. There was no snow anywhere to be seen, and we headed home disappointed, in flip flops and t-shirts.
Back home a few weeks later something miraculous happened—we watched in awe as snow flurries began to fall from the Texas sky, and we went out to the yard in our flip-flops and t-shirts to take in this little bit of unusual snow. The sight of light snow falling from the normally tropical sky, blanketing palm branches and actually sticking to things was an amazing sight! It was even enough to make footprints in the grass that had been mowed just a week before. After all the excitement, we went inside, celebrated the joys of seeing it snow and went to bed.
But it wasn’t over yet—in fact it was just the beginning!
The next morning we woke up to find ourselves in the middle of a winter wonderland. It didn’t take long before everyone in town was awake and outside before dawn, laughing and frolicking joyfully in this honest to goodness actual snowfall. Snowmen were being built with noses made of buttons, pecans, or anything else we could gather up to create a face with. Snowballs were being flung by hands without mittens (we don’t really have mittens here), and snow angels were being made by many who had never lay down in a bed of snow before.
It was a joyous morning, and the inner kid that lives within all of us came out to play for a while. As you can imagine, the weather forecasters were having the time of their lives.
However, one thing stood out to me above all. We had been looking all over the place for snow and found none. When we finally got snow, it wasn’t out there where we were looking for it. It ended up in the one place we never expected it.
I thought about how we had just traveled over a thousand miles away from home looking for snow that should have been there, but was not there. We stood in places where snow was supposed to be, but there was no snow. We had done what we thought we needed to do to find snow and come up empty. When the snow came, it came to a place where it never should have been, yet there it was, regardless.
We all got to play in the snow because the snow came to us.
I realized that on a whole different level I do this regularly. In times of trial and waiting I start looking all over the place for what I know God has called me to. I don’t see it happening where I am so I go about looking behind every corner where I think it should be. I start trying to force God to work in places where I expect he will work, without patiently waiting on Him to work in His time. I wait on God for a few hours while trying to do His work for Him a few hours later.
Yet in the midst of working, searching, and agonizing over God not moving in the way I would plan or expect, I hear His still, small voice calling to be still and patiently wait on Him to work. And while this can be one of the hardest things we do, it is always the most rewarding. God is not slow to fulfill His promises, and He will never leave us or forsake us.
As we find ourselves in difficult or even impossible situations, let us recall the fact that the God who loves us and cares for us will give us what we need, when we need it, in His timing. If He promises to care for us, He may well carry out that provision in the most unusual of places in the most miraculous of ways.
No matter where you are, or what you are up against, don’t give up! The God who can bring snow to places where it doesn’t snow can bring peace and joy to even the darkest moments.
He can. And in His time, He will.