It was nearly Christmas when our region was plummeted by a major ice storm. We awoke to a thick layer of ice on every exterior surface. Unfortunately that included the power lines, which were snapping under the weight. There would be no power in our neighborhood for the next 10 hours.
Since our garage doors are automatic, our sump pump is electric, and our furnace and gas fireplace all require electricity to run, the lack of power meant we were confined to an incredibly cold house, where our only entertainment was to watch the basement fill up with water. It was tempting to complain, but instead I decided to go for a walk, and as I circled our large, country block, God began to speak to me through the ice…
As the roads were slippery, I had to take care where I put my foot. Even so, I often slid. I had gone about half-way around the 3-kilometer block when a city truck spreading salt and sand passed by. As I stepped over onto the sanded part of the road, my traction improved significantly.
1. Lesson #1: When the devil sends “ice” (troubles) to make our “road” slippery, God sends sand trucks! He always makes a way: “…but God is faithful…with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1Cor 10:12-13, NKJV) In the midst of life’s trials, I urge you to watch for God’s sand trucks!
As soon as I stepped out of the house, I noticed the quietness of the icy morning. Only one sound broke through that peaceful serenity: Gasoline generators! With their source of power gone, many of my neighbors had another way. It made me think of the story of the 10 virgins (see Matt 25:1-13) in Jesus’ wedding parable. They all experienced a “power outage.” They all ran out of oil, but five of them had a “generator”—they had extra oil.
2. Lesson #2: Although God is our source of “power,” there will be times in our lives when it seems our “power” is running out. Do we have a “generator?” Do we have God’s Holy Spirit, represented in the Bible by oil, to get us through the tough times? Just like I went out and purchased a generator as soon as I could, we must all ensure that we have that spiritual back-up plan: that we are filled with God’s Holy Spirit, for only He can get us through the tough times.
As I looked at the ice-covered branches all around me, I couldn’t help but think that they were works of beauty, each and every one.
3. Lesson #3: Only God could take something as devastating as an ice storm and work in His artistic touch to make the world a place of beauty: “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Eccl 3:11, NKJV)
The icy beauty came at significant cost to the trees, however. Many of them were nearly bent over double from the weight of the ice. Some branches had snapped altogether. It was, in all, kind of depressing to think that the very thing that made the trees so beautiful was also so devastating to them. Then it occurred to me: the trees didn’t mind the ice. They were simply objects of creation, designed to declare the glory of God: “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork…” (Ps 19:1-2, NKJV).
4. Lesson #4: Life’s trials always seem to bring us down. Just like the devastating ice could be used by God as a thing of beauty, our trials can also bring out the beauty in us: “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich…” (Rev 3:18, NKJV)
Friends, let’s stop wishing away the “ice storms” of life. Instead, let’s let God use them to bring out the beauty in us!
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.