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A little snow builds a pile of perspective
Storms seem to take on epic proportions in people’s memories, growing larger and more fabled with each telling. The last few days of cold and snow in Enumclaw and the entire Puget Sound area will long be remembered as the storm of 2008. After all, Sunday, Dec. 14 we woke to a blanket of 2 inches of the white stuff - more where it had blown into drifts. Wednesday the 17th they were predicting additional snow. Then during the past weekend we were assaulted with more snow and, in some areas, a whole lot of wind. Tonight, they are predicting more. No doubt this was a significant storm but the way people are already telling it, you would have thought that it was several feet deep with temps in the low teens or lower. Schools were closed even before the worst of the snow came. At Calvary, we have been in a constant quandary as to whether things at church should be cancelled.
I admit, it has been quite a storm – but the “storm of the decade?” I don’t know!
Growing up in Colorado, and having lived in Chicago for five years, I know snowstorms, and this is no snowstorm...that is until it is recounted and retold over the next several years. “I remember the snowstorm of ‘08. There must have been at least 3 feet of snow on the ground and sub-zero temps. The worst storm we’ve had in ages.” In a few years it will have reached epic proportions.
Of course, my wife accuses me of looking forward to snow and ice on the roads just so I can go out and drive on it. She’s right. Once, when we lived in southern New Mexico, we had a rare snowstorm that dumped 14 inches of wet, heavy snow. All the roads - including I-25 and I-10 were closed down. Did that stop the Davis family? Ha! Not a chance. We all piled in the family four-wheel drive (an Isuzu Trooper) and headed to El Paso to do some Christmas shopping. Closed highway - no problem. Dire warnings – we scoff. The best part was we had the entire Cielo Vista Mall virtually to ourselves.
It reminds me of the storm of 1971. “The worst blizzard in years,” according to some Denverites. Actually, I think it was just my mom who said that and she tended to exaggerate storms anyway.
And who could forget the fabled storm of 1983 (we lived in Renton at the time and for the life of me I can’t remember that it was that bad). It was the storm to which all other winter storms are compared and each time I have heard it retold, it has become larger and larger.
As I was thinking about how inconvenient snow, icy roads, school closures, and slick sidewalks and parking lots are, I received a letter from one of the missionaries we support in Southern Africa. She recounted the horrible tale of cholera, AIDS, rampant violence and incredible inflation in Zimbabwe. Sometimes, I don’t realize how good I have it.
Then when I got to my office, I read a prayer/support letter from a friend who works for Casas Por Cristo – an organization that builds houses in Juarez, Mexico. He spoke of how increasing drug wars, escalating violence, and the crumbling American economy had deeply curtailed their mission of building houses with and for God’s people in need along our southern borders.
Both these situations – Zimbabwe and Mexico – were described from the perspective of God’s sovereign grace as our missionary friends have had to trust solely on Christ’s reigning power to meet needs, protect them and accomplish God’s purposes in spite of dire circumstances.
I guess a little snow on the ground and some cold weather isn’t so bad. Maybe God is going to work in my life today in some unexpected, gracious way. In the meantime, I guess I will stoke up the fire in the fireplace, wrap some presents, have another cup of coffee and enjoy the beauty and peace of falling snow...and oh, yes, spend some time praying for my brothers and sisters around the world whose lives really are difficult. I guess the storm of ‘08 isn’t so bad after all!
May the joy, peace and hope of the Christmas message be yours this Christmas and into the new year.