Like so much of the rest of the country, I am living through snow apocalypse. There is some serious snow here in MI. My ancient snow blower has gotten so much use this winter. Currently it is being held together by a bungie cord and I hope it will last for the remainder of the winter!
I live at the end of a street. The snow plows collect all the the snow at the top of the street and begin pushing it down my street with their plows. Great strategy on their part. Not so great for me. An unfair amount of snow gets distributed at the end of my driveway compared to other neighbors on the street. So much so that you can’t drive your car over it and my snow blower is too “delicate” to handle the icy chunks! You could say, I get more than my share of the neighborhood snow.
Do you ever feel that you get more than your share of life’s problems?
Well it happened the other day as it has in the past. The plows came through and buried me. Because we do have to leave the house once in a while, I went out, yet again, to dig out. The snow on the sides of the driveway are so high that I had to scoop up the snow and fling it over the piles into the yard.
I must have looked pathetic because the neighbor across the street who was snow blowing his neighbors driveway, came over to help.
Whoa! He exclaimed as he looked at my mess. Does that happen every time?
Yes Derrik, it does!
So without hesitation he began to rescue me.
Now I don’t know if it was because I looked so pitiful with my 7 layers of clothing and hats or that I was so out of breath that he was worried I would have a heart attack or something…but in his kindness he went after the pile.
I continued shoveling alongside him, mostly because I didn’t want him to think I was a freeloader who timed her shoveling at the precise time he was clearing his neighbors driveway. Or that I wasn’t capable of shoveling it myself, I have done it several times by myself already.
I was appreciative because I was tired and felt alone, there were no other family members available to help me. I’m sure when he walked over he didn’t realize how big my snow pile was and yet he helped me anyway. But I was still so frustrated by the whole thing.
As I shoveled and Derrik snow blowed, I got a distinct impression God was trying to embed something in me. I had to deal with the snow blocked driveway in order to experience the kindness of another.
Without the problem I wouldn’t have been positioned to receive the blessing.
The struggle was a gateway to the savior.
Often times I don’t want to know the God of the struggle. I want to know the victory lane God, the overcomer God, the healer God. But that’s not how it works with God. That’s not how it works in life. There are winning moments and losing moments in the span of a lifetime. God wants me to know all of Him, including the God that is present in the pain, frustration, sorrow, anger, disappointment, depression, and discouragement.
When I think that God’s presence is known only in the good moments of life I misunderstand Him and underestimate His character.
I want to live on the mountain top, not the valley. But the God of the valley is just as poignant as the God of the mountain top. When I am in the valley it’s harder to receive God’s presence. I think that what was bothering me. When I’m in a valley situation, I dwell on the darkness of where I am and not on God. My thoughts remain on the struggle instead of focusing on the God in the struggle with me. I think most of us can relate to this. It’s not wrong that we can’t focus on God, its just what happens because life is hard.
It’s a curious thing to experience struggle and God at the same time. You’d think that the moment He makes Himself known the “problems” would resolve? But that’s not always the case. Some times he comes up along side and says:
I’m here. Let’s do this together.
And the point isn’t that the struggles didn’t go away or that I’m still in the valley, it’s that God is there in it. With me.
He visits us to reclaim us. To strengthen us. To change our perspective. To sit with us in our uncertainty. To remind us that we are not able to carry the load alone.
The struggle doesn’t define God. It defines us.
The God of the snow pile isn’t always the God I want to know. But He is the One that showed up the other day. The snow was removed but the weather man says more snow is on its’ way so I will be out there again, I’m sure… with the God of the snow pile.
“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” ~Psalm 139:7-8