LESSONS FROM THE ICE STORM

We’ve had a very cold spring, with periods of snow and ice that are not very welcome at all.  People here in Kansas have gardens to plant, and flowers to nurture, while the farmers are cautiously eyeing their wheat crops for damage.  A few weeks ago, in April, we had a threat of severe weather one day that lasted into the night. It was no surprise, then, when we went to bed and heard the distant sound of thunder and saw the sky fill with bright lightning.  But as the night wore on, I awakened to hear the unmistakable pinging sound of ice hitting the bedroom window.  All night long, as I drifted in and out of sleep, I was aware of the nearly constant sound of that cold wind blowing and the ice tapping on the window. 

The next morning, as soon as it was light enough to see outside, we were met with quite a surprise.  Everything was coated with a thick sheen of sparkling ice.  The ice was coating every limb and twig, every little bloom and every little blade of grass.  I went upstairs to open the bedroom blinds in order to get a good look at the back yard and was met with windows that were thickly sealed with ice.  The beautiful view of the back yard was totally blocked by the layer of ice.
 
It was amazing to step outside into the bright twinkle of the ice as it was hit by the sun’s rays.  As the day wore on, the warmth of the sun melted the ice. Soon the ice lost its cold grip on the limbs and the high electric wires, and came crashing down to the ground.  In a couple days, things seemed to return to normal.  We picked up some scattered small limbs in the front and side yard, and were thankful to not see any major damage.  However, a different story could be seen as we walked farther out in the back of our property.

There we found more damage than we could initially see from a distance.  Limbs were bowed down…….some were broken………and then even farther away we found an entire half of a tree that had completely broken off and fallen down.  All along the tree line we found large branches that were laying on the ground. The incessant ice that had fallen during that stormy night had piled up and taken a definite toll on many of our large bushes and trees. The longer the ice fell, the more damage that was inflicted. 

Just the other day, Gary and I took a walk around this same area.  We noticed some interesting things.  Some of the branches that had been bowing over with the weight of the ice were slowly regaining their former upright position.  Other limbs, though severely damaged, were growing new leaves and hanging on to the life that was provided to them from the main tree that was still firmly rooted.  There was life where we least expected to see it.  We were hopeful that some of the branches could be saved, and we were refreshed by the green signs of life that we saw.  Other areas, such as the large tree that had fallen, would forever bear the scar of this tragedy.

Sometimes we face prolonged storms in our lives.  We listen to the endless sound of falling ice and finally get up to find our view of life blocked by the cold effects of the situations around us.  And even when the sun comes out, and our circumstances improve, we realize that irreparable damage has been done.  The build-up of events and decisions has caused our lives to be forever changed.  Sometimes the damage can be corrected and the sagging limb will rebound.  Other times the damage is more permanent, and a scar will forever remain.
 
On-going trials can certainly wear us down.  It may be lengthy health issues, wayward children, recurrent temptations or the effects of yielding to sin, hurtful situations, those refusing to reconcile relationships……….so many areas of life are affected by icy storms that continue and that build up over time to the point of breaking.  Yet God is so merciful and so faithful, especially during those times when we are weary and are burdened.  
Listen to David in Psalm 66:8-12:  “Bless our God, O peoples, and sound His praise abroad. Who keeps us in life and does not allow our feet to slip.  For You have tried us, O God.  You have refined us as silver is refined.  You brought us into the net.  You laid an oppressive burden upon our loins.  You made men ride over our heads.  We went through fire and through water, yet You brought us out into a place of abundance.”

God will see us through the icy storm.  He will not allow our feet to slip.  He directs the storms of our lives in order to refine us.  Yet He brings us to a place of abundance when the storm is over!  There is still life………there is still growth……there is still potential, no matter how deep the scars.  Sometimes it’s hard to move on beyond the hurt and the pain, but we must.  Step by step we move forward, and we find that one day we really can smile again and serve God again.  
  
And we can say, “Bless our God, and sound His praise!”  

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