Winter Storms & Resurrection Hope
The winter storm that has crippled Texas left most of my church members without power for days and now has rendered the water here in Austin non-potable and subject to boiling before drinking.
Those that have water, that is.
We're entering Day Three of no water in the part of the city where I live. Yesterday I boiled snow to make spaghetti, and we're using the water from the pool to wash dishes and flush toilets.
Still, in the midst of what amounts to a minor hardship considering what so many people without resources are facing, I had an epiphany yesterday that was still with me this morning.
I was standing outside yesterday looking at a tree in my yard that was covered in ice, branches bending low under the weight of it.
I also looked around at the rose bushes in my flower beds, and the two large Sago palms that were covered in ice and snow. I remembered a hard freeze we'd had several years ago that decimated all of them.
And then I remembered what the landscaper we'd called to dig them out had told us. "Just cut them back. They'll be okay, and they'll grow back." When I looked at those plants then, I thought he was crazy. They looked brown and shriveled, and lifeless.
But he was right. We cut them all back, down almost to the ground, and they grew back. Their roots were deep, you see. There was life under the frozen ground that had been unharmed by the extreme cold.
As I stood there thinking about all of this, the wind began to blow the icy branches of the tree I'd been observing, and it sounded like music---like a tinkling of piano keys. I closed my eyes and listened for a while, and it hit me.
No matter what happens to us on the surface, if our roots are grounded in life-giving soil, there will be restoration.
Whether it's a catastrophic storm, a pandemic, or even struggles with doubt, broken relationships, a bad diagnosis, near-hopeless addiction, grief, and loss... none of those things will take us completely if we are brave enough to trust and hope that there's life deep within us.
Long ago, I came to believe that God doesn't cause all things. God didn't send this winter storm to punish us. God didn't cause a pandemic out of retribution. God didn't create obstacles or storms in your life. They just happened.
But God is with us in the midst of those storms, and hard freezes. God makes music in the middle of our struggles to remind us that God is still there, always there, never leaving or forsaking us.
And God reminds us that there is more to us than what is on the surface---that deep down there is love, forgiveness, hope, grace, and peace, which are all the right components needed for a new life, new growth.
God reminds us that resurrection is still possible, even when it feels like whatever was frozen should be left for dead.
May this realization wash over you today if you are feeling the effects of a storm in your own life. May you rise knowing that there is life in you, in the world around you. May you trust in the One who is still in the business of raising the dead.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.