“Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? Or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?”
Job 38:22, 23
The pastor was sitting in his study. It had been another busy week for him in his small yet demanding congregation. Somehow he had again been enabled with a new supply of the Spirit to forge ahead in a busy week of teaching, preaching, sermon-making, writing in the periodicals; it had taxed his strength; it had seemed to drain him dry!
It called for a time of quiet meditation, for prayer; it was the hour of need to be alone with God, to refresh his soul with water from the brook, the river of God which flows softly—from the Throne.
The wind had begun to blow outside. Winter was still in the land, and all things were still asleep in winter’s deep. The radio had predicted another winter-storm in the offing. Yes, it was another storm which neither Almanac nor weather-man had really foreseen, and which fact made one feel deeply that the winds of the Almighty blow where He listeth, be they spring breezes, summer zephyrs or winter’s icy blasts. The tall oak trees stand gaunt and bare, with a few of last season’s golden leaves tenaciously clinging to their branches, which reach heavenward with out-stretched arms as if in awe before their mighty Creator and Sustainer. And, in ever increasing tempo and crescendo, the howling winds descend with stronger gusts. And man and beast seek shelter, each in their own habitat. It seems that God is walking on the wings of the wind…and He does!
God is speaking out of the whirl-wind. The kingdom of heaven happens in parables! The pastor sits in reverie, in thoughtful contemplation of the Lord’s works. His thoughts turn to the speech of God addressed to Job out of the whirl-wind, out of his divine Theophany! Once more he reads the familiar strains recorded in the sacred pages of his Bible, “Gird up thy loins now like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me: hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow…”
Yes, had the pastor entered with Job and considered attentively the Lord’s “treasure” in the snow?
Oh, he had walked in it many times; sometimes he had waded through it knee-deep and hip-high. It had been bothersome; yes, it had even been a bit terrifying as he walked in it, engulfed in the breath-taking wind and the mounting, swirling snows. He had observed that thousands of snowflakes descended as fluffy down, accumulating and multiplied by thousands of thousands. It had taxed his strength and endurance; he ahd opined that he was not as youthful and vigorous as he had been in yester-year. He had observed that more than one of his fellow-men and generation had succumbed in the battle with the snow, or that when it had melted and formed to ice, had been the reason for bruised limbs and broken bones. Yes, doctors and medical men “in the know” were warning the public, men of his age and strength, to beware in their battle with the snow!
But, had he truly entered into the “treasure” of the snow, and of the hail?
The latter too could be an awesome experience, crippling man and beast, reminding man of his puny strength when matched with the Him who scatters His ice like hoarfrost. Recently the rain had turned to such ice and it seemed that the Lord literally rained ice from heaven. It lay inches deep upon mountain and plain, even where the foot of man never makes an imprint. It was not stingily scattered abroad. He covers the mountains with the snow and hail as in great reservoirs of water, to cause them to thaw and flow down steep mountain slopes, hastening and hurrying them to the sea. Meanwhile the wild asses quench their thirst beside these streams.
But had he considered the “treasure” of the snow and hail?
Ah, Hannibal, the great general of ancient times, had not! He assayed to lead his army of men and elephants across the snow-covered Alps only to find the snows killed more of his army of men and elephants than all the rigors of actual warfare! Great avalanches of snow went cataracting, with thundering reverberations, into the valleys, carrying with them man and beast, and leaving nought but destruction in its path. One can read it in the books. Ironically enough, it is man’s chronicle of God’s “treasure” in the snow, His reserved power in the day of battle….
Had the pastor considered?
Outside of his study windows the winds were blowing in stiffer gale…
How often had the Lord not in His secret providence used the snow and the hail in his arsenal for battle? Little children imitate their maker unwittingly betimes. They have their snow-ball fights and battles. Sometimes they pack them wet and hard. Thus the Lord used the snow and the hail, the swollen rivers and the seasonal floods as barriers in history, defying the ken of man, deciding the issues of the battle of the nations, determining the course of history and the bounds of the habitations of man. Napoleon, that master-strategist, was taken in his own strategy. He met his fall at Waterloo…
Meanwhile there is a positive treasure in the snow.
Yes, this the pastor had often considered. It is the “mystery” of the transformation, a picture of earth changed to heaven. When God takes the murkiest waters and lifts them aloft, He causes them to descend from heaven whiter than any fuller’s soap can whiten the purest linen. It is the symbolism of which the prophets speak in unforgettable beauty for Zion’s comfort, “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…”
There is a beauty of God in the snow, in each snow-flake. Amongst all the myriad of snow-flakes there is not one alike. Each snowflake bespeaks the wisdom and the matchless ingeniousness of its Designer; each is the pure crystalline beauty which reflects the purity of God, which when touched by man is soiled beyond re-cleansing. Its pristine beauty never returns… unless it is wafted heavenward once more, to be cleansed by the Almighty and to return in the form of snow!
Gird thyself as a man and consider…
Consider the ways of God, even the path of the snow-flake, O man!
The pastor turns about in his chair; his reverie is ended. The wind and storm are still tempestuous. More snow has fallen. It would be a good evening to stay indoors, about the fire-place and the embers…
Meanwhile the pastor’s spirits are lifted; he feels refreshed and his soul is filled with a song; he drank from a full cup. He muses how God speaks out of the whirl-wind!
The life of each creature the Lord makes His care…
The tiny snow-flake too.
Blow then, O north wind, laden with treasures in thy wake…