As my household has settled in for the snowstorm that is just beginning, the third so far this winter, I find myself drawn to linger outside. I have a good excuse to slip out to walk the dog, but despite the cold, I’m reluctant to come back inside to the light and noise. The snow is just starting to fall and the busy world seems to have paused for a bit, at least until the storm has passed. So far this winter I’ve enjoyed two snowstorms and they were so very different. The first had howling winds that snatched the words from my mouth and carved, even sculpted the snow into magnificent drifts. For two days the winds roared with a noise that could not be ignored, but with practice could be tuned out, not unlike the pleas of an insistent child. The second was so hushed and so quiet that even the dog stopped to listen. I could actually hear the snow falling. I stood in wonder and listened to the near-silence. There was whisper, like that of a lover, as each flake drifted slowly and carefully into place. Each flake stacked on top of others, piling up on the bushes around the house. As I wandered over to the bush to take a closer look at the snow that was clinging to the branches, I could see every snowflake. Each one was perfectly formed and perfectly balanced on the others. The photos I took don’t even begin to do justice to the amazing sight. The feeling that came over me was that of seeing and hearing a mirrored reflection.
There in the snow, I saw random perfection, uniquely and deliberately formed. Outside in the darkness, I heard the reverberations of my soul. At times, a roar so loud that it drowns out everything and at other times, a hushed whisper that seems to say, “If you want to hear, be quiet.” I was reminded of the passage in Isaiah where God describes his servant.
Not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
A bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench.
This was a passage I stumbled across it at a time when I had all but given up on God. I remembered the desire I’d once had, a flame that had diminished to a smoldering wick. I was bruised, but not broken. I found hope in those words and now several years later, there is a new fondness for these words. I have a deep appreciation of the mercy and gentleness of my God, one who surrounds me with beauty and fills my soul with wonder.
Today as the newest storm begins, appointments are rescheduled, schools and businesses are already closing, and everyone has hunkered down to ride out the storm. I find myself filled with quiet anticipation, breathlessly waiting for the ever-changing beauty that tomorrow will bring. There is nothing like snow to remind me of all that is new, clean and good. Even the rusty old chain link fence can be transformed. Imagine. If God can do that with a fence, what incredible things can he do with me?