Though Snow May Stick
Mar 03, 2019 12:33AM
● By Bonnie Lyn Smith
I was twitching with impatience. While waiting on a bus to pull up, I was admittedly put out that the lawn had become such an ice rink that driving my children was the only alternative to them sliding down the hills of our yard. In my early morning haze and irritation, I grabbed a quick moment of Be Still. That’s my Bible-based term for the calm I seek when my blood pressure is rising, the in-box is overflowing, and I’ve once again been setting my expectations way too high.
I barely noticed the brakes grinding to a halt until a loud beep got my attention. A car was trying to pass when the school bus’s flashing lights were already on.
I said “good-bye” to my son but lingered for a minute, trying to recapture my thought process. And then I remembered what it was:
The fresh, dusty snow was still sitting on top of each branch of the tree farm right across from me, unyielding to the sun and proudly declaring its presence. It was strikingly pure and radiant. It was as if it said to me:
“Hey, like it or not, I fell last night, and I’m still here decorating each bare branch of these woods until the melt forces my retreat.”
And even after my return to work that day, that stuck with me because I knew within a few hours, the snow would do just that—melt into memory. And yet under it was another reality, partly covered early in the morning but true nonetheless:
Winter’s days are numbered. Buds are wanting to form. The sun is engaging with the trees, and the cycle is restarting. Snow can continue to drop out of the New England sky for the next few weeks, but what God has planned underneath all of that is already under way.
And that is exactly how I feel right now.
You see, sometimes we go through seasons of hibernation. I’m an introvert, so that’s me pretty much every winter. But I mean it in a slightly different context.
Like the caterpillar who needs to weave itself a chrysalis, there are times when God is digging such deep growth in me that I have to simply be still and yield. While godly counsel and fellowship are important, and I can’t fully isolate, He takes these times to tell me to crawl under His wing.
Psalm 91:4, ESV
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
It’s not for the purpose of hiding from difficult situations in life. It’s more so that I can hear properly and receive His instruction.
In these moments, He wants me to stop relying on other people for security and comfort but to rest in Him alone.
Psalm 62:1, ESV
To the choirmaster: according to Jeduthun.
A Psalm of David.
For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
And in this place of shelter, I am like the tree branch that keeps being assaulted by winter, but underneath it all, it is sprouting new growth. It wants to peek out and show the world its progress, but God says it is simply not time yet—and He sends the elements until such time that it is.
Asaph, the Psalmist, spoke of what he discovered once he entered the sanctuary of God:
Psalm 73:14-17, ESV
For all the day long I have been stricken
and rebuked every morning.
If I had said, "I will speak thus,"
I would have betrayed the generation of your children.
But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end.
Clearly, Asaph is onto something here. First of all, there is struggle going on. In the full context of the entire Psalm, he is pondering how the unrighteous, arrogant, and selfish seemingly get away with their injustices and pride. Clearly he is disturbed by his inability to make sense of this.
Ever look around you and feel the same way? The corruptions of governments around the world? The abusers and human and drug traffickers? The exploiters? Doesn’t violence sometimes seem to go unchecked? Whole people groups slaughtered or having to seek refuge?
Notice something right after he describes his struggle: He confesses he has much he wants to say but realizes they would not be God’s words. Asaph exercised self-control and sought answers from God.
This next part is my absolute favorite: “But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task.”
That’s so true, isn’t it? We cannot wrap our minds around the evil in this world. We simply cannot make sense of it.
But where did Asaph go, then, to find that peace? “To the sanctuary of God.”
That is where he found discernment and met His sovereign God.
I love this, but the King James Version is where I first read this earlier this week, and it spoke to me, grabbing me with the word “painful.” Consider the last two verses:
Psalm 73:16-17, KJV
When I thought to know this,
it was too painful for me;
Until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then understood I their end.
Too painful, yes.
Okay, let’s get personal for a minute. It really doesn’t matter what is going on in your life right now that is troubling; like Asaph, don’t spin on this “wearisome task.” Whatever it is that is “too painful” to understand, go meet God in His sanctuary. Take it to Him in prayer. Place it on His altar. He promises to always be with you when you believe on and in His name.
I’ve had a year of various trials that were simply “too painful.” It doesn’t make me a victim. It’s simply a matter of walking through the crushing blows of life.
But I know that when I get under God’s wings, climb on His lap, and seek Him in the sanctuary of dialogue (prayer), peace and wisdom can be found. And very deep growth. But I must yield. Like Asaph, I cannot speak from my own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5, ESV
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
If you haven’t fully explored this sanctuary time with God, let me encourage you. While relying solely on Him for my assurance, security, and sense of well-being does not come naturally, these seasons of sanctuary time produce tremendous fruit in my life. Like the tree branches trying to show off the little sprouts of green popping up in March, I want people to notice my growth as well. But a few more snows must fall. A few more days in the sanctuary.
When God says it is time to uncover what He is doing in my life, nothing will stop Him.
Though snow may stick for a season, spring’s bounty will rise up in due time.
Ask Him what bounty He can be growing in your life. He never disappoints.
Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.
She is the author of Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day and the founder and editor-in-chief of Ground Truth Press, a book publishing company.