The world is draped in gothic ice daggers in the pre-dawn gloom. My car inches cautiously along the icy country roads, surrounded by the frozen landscape, unmistakably changed by last night’s ice storm. Nature around me expresses a cold that pervades into the soul, and every brittle tree stands like a dark sentinel in a mass of black forest.
But not for long…
As I crested a hill, I saw the first rays of sunlight streaking over the horizon. As these rays of light glanced off crystals of ice, the dark forest turned into a breathtaking grandeur of shining beauty. The sun rose higher and more light poured over the trees, reflecting off myriads of ice crystals. The bottom half of the trees were still shrouded in darkness. But everywhere touched by the sun’s light was turned into radiant beauty. With the rising of the sun, my foreboding world of danger and harshness just turned into something elegant and delicate.
I started to cry. That’s what my life feels like. Dark, cold, brittle. Covered in layers of frozen ice that grips my heart. But then, when the rays of light slowly rise, what used to be dark and bitter is transformed into something so incredibly beautiful.
Not just any light. The light of healing that only God can bring.There’s a lot of different ways we try to deal with our pain. But I know deep down that what I really need is for God to touch my heart.
Like the first light of dawn touched those trees.
My circumstances have not changed. The ice still drapes over everything. My loss still pervades every aspect of my life. But my perspective on my loss has changed. This pain is no longer the enemy to drive me farther away from God. Instead it is the paintbrush that is being used by God to artistically sculpt a landscape so breathtaking that I wonder in awe at my God who transforms our pain and sorrow into something beautiful. In this place, I can find worship instead of despair.
It draws me to remember Jesus. My savior. Who walked in this broken world, never did anything wrong, and ended up being betrayed and dying a cruel death. The layers of frigid ice wrap around His story far more than around mine. Viewing that landscape seems sure to end only in darkness. But no. He IS the light. And in the most tragic moment of history when God DIED for us, that is also the most beautiful moment in history when God brought justice and redemption together to make a way for people to be completely forgiven of our rebellion against God.
This gives me hope. It means that God can transform even my pain to bring about something good. This in no way negates the pain of loss, or erases emotions. Rather, it validates and gives that pain a purpose that transforms the way we view our loss.
So when the icy winter wraps its unending cold around my heart and the jagged ice crystals scream to penetrate bitterness like daggers into my heart, I CHOOSE to remember this ice storm and this sunrise. I choose to remember what happened to the trees caught in the glorious sunlight. And I pray for God to transform the bitterness in my heart into something that reflects the stunning beauty of my God.
My prayer for you, fellow traveler, is that you also will see ways that God is bringing His light into your heart and transforming your loss into something that reflects His beauty. You may not be there right now, and that’s ok. I may have days in the future where I don’t want to remember this, and that’s part of walking a broken road. But may we always look for Him to show up in our lives, even in the darkest ice storm.