Friday, May 12, 2017

The Ice Storm and Storms of Life

We had an unusually cold winter this year, lots of snow and one very severe ice storm.
Covered with a coat of ice  our world was transformed into a jewel studded wonderland.
Beautiful as it was to see, when the ice melted we saw the incredible power it had to leave damage in its wake.
Trees everywhere  were split down the middle, branches and limbs broken off, some trees dead on the ground.
I was sad to see how many trees  were lost or suffered extensive damage but then I noticed something that caught my attention.   Not EVERY tree suffered damage - two trees could be standing side by side - one damaged , the other standing strong, having come through the storm untouched.

I saw the spiritual lesson pictured in the drama of the storm.

Before the ice storm all the trees looked healthy and strong. It would have been impossible to tell which would be vulnerable to the onslaught coming against them.

So also, as believers, we can all look strong and full of faith on the outside, but a storm of life will show how strong our faith really is.
It is when the difficult times come, those unexpected seasons of life that hit us in our most vulnerable places - that is when it is revealed what we are really made of.
Is our faith only lip-surface?  Are we only strong in the sunshine of life? Do we stand only as long as we are surrounded by the securities we love and lean on?

When suddenly our faith is tested, are we completely shattered?  Do hard times break our limbs of faith and cause us to doubt?  Are we so distraught that we lose all spiritual life?

There was one tree that taught me the best lesson.
It was one of our own trees that stands in our back yard. A tall white birch tree, maybe thirty feet tall.  Looking out of our kitchen window the morning after the storm,  my husband called me to come look.  This birch tree was bent over double with the weight of ice clinging to it. My husband commented, "I guess we lost that tree, there is no way it can recover."
But, lo and behold, when the ice melted, the birch tree stood back up, as straight and tall as it was before!  It is pictured below, the tallest tree in the middle of the photo. (I'm sorry I don't have a photo of it doubled over)

I smiled when I saw the tree standing up once again, and thought, I want to be like that tree !
A verse came to mind, the words of Paul from II Corinthians 4:8,9.
"We are hard pressed on every side ---   yet are not crushed; 
we are perplexed  ----- but not in despair.
persecuted ---- but not forsaken 
struck down --  BUT NOT DESTROYED!"

When we are tempted, when we are tested, when we are tried, may we all be like my birch tree. 
May we  courageously say with Paul...  'we may be struck down, but not destroyed'. 
In Christ , though we are weak, we are strong.
"Let us put on the whole armor of God, and so be able to stand against anything that comes against us."
(my paraphrase Eph. 6:11) 

The storm WILL pass , the Lord WILL take us through ... will we then be standing upright, strong in our faith?


Sandy said...

Thank you as always for the nuggets from the Word thru the
pictures of the creation God has created....
and for it being at just the right time in my life.
Love you dear friend....

ellen b said...

Great lessons you shared here, Julie. Love the story of the Birch!