One of the challenges of getting older is not the lines that begin to form on your forehead but lines that underline the names and needs of those on your prayer list. There are prayers of thanks and praise and sadly, lots of prayers of need. Yesterday, I learned of a bomb threat at a high school near where I live. As a friend rightly shared, these things are too frequent. There is sometimes a growing sense that things are not the way they are supposed to be.
Aware of all of these things, I looked up. I had been standing outside under our crabapple tree. It is now in full bloom with tiny white flowers bursting forth in clusters of radiance. I could not help but recall standing under that same tree about five years ago. Another tree in our yard was not doing well so we called over an expert to take a look at it. While he was here, he looked at all our trees. He advised me to remove our crabapple tree. He said it was getting old. He pointed to branches that were not doing well. I love that tree. When I looked at it, I could still see some life. I did not have the heart to cut it down. Five years, later, it is still going. As I stared up at its new blossoms, a crazy holy thought entered my mind. The flowers overhead looked a little like snow clumped together above me. It was a delightful thought. The cold snow of winter was now being made new in spiring.
The prophet Isaiah shares: “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 is my word that goes out from my mouth; It will not return to me empty.” (Isa 55:10-11)
The rain and the snow will bring forth buds. To me, in that moment, the thought of snow pointed to the hiddenness of life. The same life that came and blanketed the grass and the bushes and the trees was now bursting anew in buds of possibility.
Sometimes it feels like winter carries on too long. The cold reality of life remains but I am telling you, the day will come when the snow will be like blossoms on a tree above. There is a power at work in the world. Isaiah tells us that this power is the power of God and it is higher than our thoughts and our ways. The power of God is greater than us and beyond us. It does not fit into human categories. We are not able to fully comprehend its vastness or its power. It can turn snow into blossoms. It can turn mourning into dancing. It can bring hope and life. It can bring joy and peace.
Whatever is weighing you or the dear ones on your prayer list down like a cold blanket of snow, know there is hope. There is a power at work in the world who can overcome it. Hope can give rise to beauty and what seemed to weigh you down can be made new.