Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Perfect Winter Day


It was the kind of day that will stay in my memory for a very long time.  It was a picture postcard kind of day.  It was a winter day photographers hope to capture….the perfect winter day.  Cold but invigorating, bright blue sky and brilliant sunshine, very little wind…. and snow that allowed for great snowshoeing.

I live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a magical place where God’s handiwork is “over-the-top” amazing.   Even my wonderful southern friends (and you know who you are!) would be compelled to celebrate this amazing winter day.

While my husband was enjoying a father/son weekend at his camp in the woods (it was beautiful there too!), I headed to the “ice caves” with two of my outdoorsy girlfriends.  We met at a mini mart, loaded our snowshoes, poles and packs into one car, and headed down the road.  Although I grew up in the U.P. and have lived here again for the last 11 plus years, I had never visited this amazing place.  It is less than a 2 hour drive from my home and the pictures posted on Facebook totally motivated me to see the “ice caves”.

I had been warned that it was a challenging trek from the parking lot to the actual site…and those warnings turned out to be true.  It took us almost an hour, on snowshoes (great exercise), and the last 10 minutes were the most challenging.  There were steep hills, sudden drop-offs (no guard rails because everything was in its most natural state), twists, turns and tree roots under the cover of snow.

The ice caves are not really caves etched into the rock as much as they are formations of ice that freeze as they cascade from high rock overhangs.  The solid ice forms a cave like structure.  It was a bit intimidating to actually go into the cave because of my fear of falling; it was sheer ice in there! (I broke my wrist a couple of years ago and that memory is still pretty vivid.)  However, I just could not get that close to the structures without having the full experience.

There was a posting on Facebook later that same day that said something about enjoying winter by looking at pictures of it while sitting on a Florida beach.  I had to respond!  I would not have traded that fabulous winter day for any beach anywhere!  It was pure magic.

It is times like these that God’s creative wonders seem to catch me by surprise.  I don’t know why!  I have been privileged to visit many of our world’s beautiful places and certainly have viewed the unvisited ones through photographs, etc.  The Bible story in Genesis of the creation of the world is enough to stop me in my tracks.

And yet, there are those times when God totally amazes me with His acts of beauty.  As we headed back to the parking lot, we took photo after photo of snow hanging from tree limbs, of dappled sunlight creating movement on the snow, of brilliant blue sky peeking through the tree branches, and of each other surrounded by pure beauty. I am so thankful for those “take-me-by-surprise” moments. 

I need the reminder that God is sovereign, that He has good plans (Jeremiah 29:11), that His creation shows plainly that He exists.  Romans 1:20 reads, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”  Friends, God’s handiwork makes it absolutely clear that we have an amazing, creative God Who set us on earth in the midst of that created beauty.

Yes, we still need to tell others about Jesus (Romans 10:14); words must be used.  The gospel is to be shared through words as well as our actions; but we can clearly see God through His amazing creation.  It’s all the “evidence” we need to start us on our journey to know Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.

I pray my eyes and heart are always open; I don’t want to miss God’s wonderful, breathtaking moments.  It is the desire of my heart that I live each day with expectation, knowing God is ALWAYS up to something wonderful!



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