Faithful Living, Hope, Lessons from the Wilderness, Life's Storms, Outdoor Adventures, Prayer, Uncategorized, Winter

Lessons from Trout Creek in Winter

A winter storm is blowing in from Lake Michigan, and we will be out on snowshoes later even though we are in town for the season. The cold, wind, and snow bear down on us, snarling traffic, calling on us to shovel the drive, creating in us an inner anticipation-a breath-holding hope really, that activities will be cancelled so we can all hole up with soup, hot cocoa, a fire in the fireplace, and a good book. The silence of the snow beckons us to hush our busy holiday “gottas”, a brake on our hectic lives that we might have the time to sit and think about being blanketed by and made white in God’s love.

Out back, along Trout Creek I can see the squirrels from my desk. They are busy snuffling through the snow, and scrabbling under the bird feeder. The chickadees are bursting with energy, and the wild turkeys’ tracks from yesterday are now just a memory. The deer will be here by afternoon on their daily rounds, hoping for an offering of apples. It seems irrelevant that it is cold-life goes on. In this very snow is stored the spring roots’ draught, underneath it the field mouse can travel unseen from the eyes of the hungry hawk.

Such big flakes now! What if each one were a prayer? For God to redouble his restraint on evil. For our many friends with cancer. For a woman at church burying her only daughter this weekend. For warm shelter and food for the homeless. For homes for the thousands of innocent children orphaned by the opioid crisis. For parents of special needs children. For our own aging parents and all those once-stalwart church elders who can no longer come to church. For people beleaguered by bills, addictions, depression, loneliness, and anxiety. For the oppressed who are trapped between war and inhospitable nations. My God, how can these prayers make any difference? I must trust that you hear my voice crying in this wide wilderness.

Oh how deeply I want to drink of wisdom and patience and mercy, for the snow to hide me from the predatory world, to sit wrapped, and silent, as flakes fall like grace from heaven. And after awhile, to bundle myself against white wilderness and go out and embrace it. To discover the beauty that veils the rot. Yes, the world is cold. It is counterfeit too- just sweep aside the snow to discover the season’s decay under the surface. But, remember too that you are loved, held, and comforted by the same God who assures us that spring is also under there, just waiting to shoot through with abundance and mercy and life. After all, he hasn’t missed a spring yet.

~ God’s deep peace be upon you,

J.A.P. Walton


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