3 lessons from the blizzard

December 13th, 2010 · by Tom Stuart · News & Reflections

“Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm.”  Job 40:6

The storm of the decade hit the Midwest with a vengeance on Saturday.  Blowing winds and up to 20 inches of snow inundated the Twin Cities deflating not only the the Metrodome roof but everyone’s plans for the weekend.  Storms have a way of getting our attention and testing our hearts.

Job knew something about storms.  He was battered by the storms of life including a tornado that killed all his children and a lightning storm that incinerated all his sheep and all his servants.  If that were not enough, he also had to endure the chilling blasts of incessant condemnation from his so-called friends.  It was fitting therefore that in the end, God chose to speak to him in a storm rather than through a still small voice like He did with Elijah. (Job 40:6)

Some things are only communicated clearly through storms.  Storms have a way of getting our attention because they disrupt our lives.  God speaks to us in many ways through storms. (Psalm 29:3-9)  Most importantly He uses stormy trials in our lives to reveal what is in our hearts. (Deuteronomy 8:3)   

Storms bring out the good, the bad and the ugly in people.  Like the proverbial squeeze of the toothpaste tube, what’s on the inside is sure to squirt out in the midst of a storm. 

Here are three things the blizzard revealed.

1.  Storms call us to community.  Our fast-paced insular life styles often keep us from building friendships with our neighbors.  But nothing transforms a neighborhood into a true community more than a blizzard and having to cope with the shared hardship of being buried in snow.  Storms show us how much we really need one another.  That we are not islands unto ourselves.  I saw the storm bring out the good in all of us as we worked together.  Those with snow blowers joyfully helped out those who were shoveling by hand.  Those stuck got a push, and the spirit of the good Samaritan prevailed.

Unfortunately however, my son-in-law saw some greedy spoilers show up in his neighborhood.  When he got off work late on Saturday night it took him 3 hours to go what normally takes twenty minutes.  He finally found himself stuck just blocks from his house.  Two men in a big pick-up came along and offered to help.  Benji was over-joyed. But then when they told him it would cost him hundred dollars he politely declined.  As they drove away their parting words of discouragement were – “You’re never going to get out of there!” 

Benji is a kind-hearted and faith-filled Christ follower.  He took it in stride as he continued his struggle to get home.  My immediate thought upon hearing it was to pray “May the Lord bless those two with a night in the ditch.”  I can learn from Benji.

2.  Storms call us to commitment.  They test our commitment to the things we value.  It always amazes me the length to which people will go in order to keep a commitment in times of adversity. 

My friend Jim and I are fans of Gopher men’s basketball.  Saturday’s blizzard could not keep us away from driving down to the University of Minnesota for their game.  With the Barn less than a third full of other committed but fool-hearty fans, we had the pick of our seats and enjoyed cheering Minnesota on to victory.  Besides, being Scotch I was not about to forfeit my ticket.  When the game was over we were beneficiaries of two kind Samaritans who helped push us out of a snowbound parking place.

The annual women’s Christmas tea at Bridgewood on Saturday morning proved this point as well.  While the blizzard raged before any of the side roads were plowed, over half of those who bought tickets showed up.  That’s a better percentage than showed up for the Gopher basketball game later in the day.  Our sisters put the sports fans to shame.  And many made extra sacrifices to get there early and stay late to make it all happen with flair and grace.

3.  Storms call us to cherish life’s simple pleasures.  Blizzards are God’s way of forcing us to take a time out – to savor a Sabbath from the frenetic pace of life.  They are rare opportunities to justify canceling plans to enjoy curling up before the fire with a good book or spending the day baking Christmas cookies.  John Greenleaf Whittiers’s poem “Snow-Bound” describes it this way.

Shut in from all the world without,
We sat the clean-winged hearth about,
Content to let the north-wind roar
In baffled rage at pane and door,
While the red logs before us beat
The frost-line back with tropic heat;
 

What unexpected things did you enjoy doing this past weekend because of the blizzard?  Was there anything that you noticed that proves God speaks through the storm?

2 Responses to “3 lessons from the blizzard”

  1. Sunday afternoon, after a day-in-a-half of shoveling, the snow plow went down my side of the street and plowed in my sidewalk. I reluctantly piled my clothes on again and went out to finish up. As I got to the sidewalk, I noticed two young boys with shovels walking down the side walk across the street. I hollered “are you boys looking for work”? They ran right over. I offered them $5 each to dig out the end of my side walk. I asked them what they were going to spend the money on and expected to hear candy or video games, but one of them said that they really need school clothes. Then I noticed that he just had thin gloves on and I said that I had some gloves for him. I went into the house and got some men’s snow mobile gloves that I hardly ever wear to give him. I gave them to him and he gave them to his brother-who had no gloves-just long jacket sleeves. That broke my heart and I was thankful for them and for the Lord’s leading. This is a blizzard story that I will cherish for some time.

  2. Great story – very touching and amazing how God spreads the blessings all around. Thank you for sharing!!!

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