We had our first snowfall of the year Sunday here in Northern Iowa. A fresh blanket of 4” of the white stuff. As beautiful as it looks, neither my wife or I are in much position to enjoy it, or move it. We have a friend who is plowing us out this year, but he came before the street plows went by, and there is that ugly pile at the end of the driveway that no one likes to tackle. Then there is the sidewalk, which the city says we have to clean off within 48 hours for the mailman. It doesn’t matter that the mailman trudges across our front lawn, we still need to clean it off. Oh, that there were still kids around like me and my brother when we were young!
Back in the mid-60’s no one had snow blowers. The shovel was the primary tool used to move snow. Living n New England, we had plenty of snow. One and two foot snowfalls were not uncommon. And we looked forward to them for more reasons than one. Of course, he main reason was no school. My brother, Rick, was 2 grades ahead of me in school, but only 1 year and 3 months in age. We were close and did a lot of things together.
One of those things was shovel driveways. When we saw snow in the morning, we immediately got our snow gear on, grabbed our shovels, and started door to door asking people if they needed their driveway cleared. Back then, we could pick up $5 to $10 for clearing a driveway. And we went everywhere, and kept very busy. On the busiest days, we would come home for lunch and go back out. It was quite an enterprise. I remember enjoying our time together, working hard and having some spending money on top of it. It was great!
Of course, we always enjoyed the snow. When a little younger, I can remember building huge snow forts out of the heavy, wet snow. Once the plow went by and the driveway was cleared out, the snow piles were huge. It wasn’t unusual for us to tunnel down inside and build a fortress. The opposition would be on the other side of the road, and snowballs would fly. Fun times for all, unless you got hit in the wrong place!
We also enjoyed sledding. To try and describe the sled and toboggan runs we went on would be impossible in this short space. We had one sled run that could take you a mile if you hit it just right, and another where you had to jump a creek to get the most out of it. We built a bobsled run once – packed ice on the sides and everything. You could run a sled down that at breakneck speed.
We had a lot of fun in the snow as kids. The seeming adversity of a snowfall was an opportunity for us. So it is with adversity now that I am an adult. We have a tendency to look at tough times and trials as moments that bring life down. We get worried about the outcome, and wonder how long the trial will last. Much like the snow, trouble seems to pile up on us and doesn’t want to go away.
But tests and trials bring an opportunity to grow in our faith. They give us opportunity to grow in patience, and who doesn’t need more of that. They give us an opportunity to see God work in our life. Can you see that? Do you know how much God loves you when He allows tests in your life? It’s a sign He thinks you are ready to grow more in your faith! Just like the snow brought opportunity for me and my brother, tests and trials are opportunities to grow in our walk with the Lord.
Take a different perspective. Look at your trials as growth spurts. Know that you will come out better and stronger on the other side and thank God for it. This is how we rejoice in the Lord at all times (Phil 4:4). We approach life with the knowledge that whatever comes our way, it is for our good if we place it in God’s hands.
Then when the storm comes, we will make snowballs!