Wherever you live in the northern hemisphere it seems as if winter has been a beast this year. While we are experiencing the wettest, windiest winter for years in the UK, much of North America appears to be covered in snow, with temperatures so cold that breath freezes. On both sides of the Atlantic newspapers and televisions spill out constant stories of woe, with one of the latest in the UK being horrendous damage to the south coast railway line just a mile or so from where my parents live.
Last Saturday morning I walked over to the supermarket while the rest of the family were still asleep. (I am both lark and owl.) I used a regular checkout but when walking towards the exit I noticed the lone member of staff manning the empty self-service checkouts. We started to talk and what began as a moan about the weather ended with her concluding that we need to count our blessings. Immediately God spoke to me and reminded me that my blessings are many.
Walking home I turned into our small cul-de-sac and there in a neighbour’s garden were several small clumps of snowdrops. I stopped in surprise to see such beauty appearing through the soil despite the horrendous weather. And again God spoke, not just of His role in the beauty evident in the snowdrops, but also of the seasons, and the seasons of life. I found my steps much lighter as I walked down the road and into the warmth of our home. Knowing that I am blessed on earth in so many ways is one thing, but a far greater blessing is hearing God’s voice through the messages He has written on signposts He has placed all over this world – like the checkout operator and the snowdrops. Sometimes we need to listen more carefully and look beyond the ordinary.
Let all things praise the name of the Lord, because they were created at his command. He made them to last forever, and nothing can change what he has done.
(Psalm 148:5-6 CEV)