“Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? Or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail?” - Job 38:22
Sammie and I have many images on our phones that were taken this winter - scenes of snow and videos of grandchildren tubing and sledding, sculpting snow people, and creating snow angels.
Some of the pictures are breathtaking, even on the tiny screens of our cellphones: peaks in the Great Smoky Mountains, viewed beyond Gatlinburg from an overlook, totally covered with snow, reflecting the sun, almost blinding in their brightness; fields and hills hidden by the snow, snapped from our car, driving along I-81; spruce, fir, and pine trees - boughs bowing under the burden of millions of frozen crystals; golf courses; and cars covered with road grime, then layered with a covering that hides all the salt and dirt.
Surely all of us who have seen snow (from cars with Florida tags, I have observed both children and adults pile out, catch flakes on their tongues, scrape together small amounts into enough ammunition for a parking lot snowball fight, bending over in laughter, seeing snow for the first time), but all of us who have seen inches of snow, hiding mounds of dirt or gravel, covering garbage heaps or old car bodies - transforming an eyesore into something beautiful...those of us who have seen that glorious change can identify with God’s words to Job. Snow is a treasure.
When I see children sliding down a hill on a tube or sled, bursting with glee, helping each other out of a bush or shrub - like Grayson and Anderson did in the videos - I view snow as a treasure.
I realize God was reminding Job that he had not seen the place where He stores up snow and ice, still, the beauty of snow is often beyond words, a real treasure to behold.
I am also well aware of the problems inclement weather can cause. Disruption of the norm can be a minor annoyance, but sometimes death and destruction come as a result of extremes in meteorological conditions - such as temperature and precipitation. My heartfelt prayers go out for those who have suffered great loss in Texas and parts of Tennessee and Kentucky. Still, snow is part of God’s beautiful creation, especially when viewed from a window near a warm stove or fireplace.
We should especially be reminded that scripture uses snow as a spiritual illustration of God’s love and grace. David had taken the wife of another man - the man just happened to be the top officer in David’s army - then he had the general killed in battle. David was confronted by the prophet Nathan.
The king was so convicted of his sins that he cried out in repentance to God, “Have mercy on me, according to your loving-kindness...” Psalm 51 contains his prayer and includes these words of intreating to God, “Purge me and I shall be clean, wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.”
And through the prophet Isaiah, the LORD offers this invitation to us all, “Come now, and let us reason together...though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow...” When God covers our sins with His grace and the blood of Jesus, He makes something beautiful of our life, something to be treasured.
Steve Playl, retired pastor and chaplain, columnist and college instructor, may be reached at email@example.com