Have you ever been in a hail storm? I mean being out in the hail without a roof or other shelter over your head? Not something I’d recommend if you can avoid it. However, this is exactly where my family found ourselves a couple of weeks ago on our family vacation to the Black Hills of South Dakota. We were hiking on the Sunday Gulch trail near Sylvan Lake on a beautiful summer day when some dark clouds started to spot the bright blue sky. Some possible showers were in the forecast, but with the temperature being in the 80’s, a little moisture wasn’t too worrisome. However, when the moisture started falling as balls of ice I figured we’d better take cover. By the time the four of us were huddled under the lowest branches of some nice pine trees (NOT the tallest ones in the area in case of lightning), the hail was falling heavily with some of the stones almost as big as golf balls. We spent about 20 minutes huddling close, hardly able to talk because the cacophony of the hail pounding on logs was as loud as the percussion section at the symphony. And, even though we were well sheltered, a few stones still got through with stinging impact…one on Hannah’s leg and one on my head…leaving a bit of a bruise as a reminder.
Although this hail storm encounter had some pain and it was a bit frightening, our overall experience was, strangely enough…delightful! It was AWESOME to see God’s power in the rocks of the mountains, the trees of the forest and the hail from the sky. It was exhilarating to be so close to something so dangerous and yet be calm overall as we were under the natural cover God had provided. It was fun to huddle up with my family and listen to nature’s symphony. It was a delight to make a wonderful memory (on my birthday, no less) that will hold a prominent spot in our mental files for the rest of our days. All in all, the experience was JOYFUL!
That’s how it is when we face life with our faith in Jesus in the number one position. The terrors of this world cannot destroy us. They may cause us some pain, but even then we can rest in peace as we know we’re resting in the hands of our Savior. We KNOW we’re bound for the glory of the new creation. This helps us appreciate the beauty of the present creation…even if it’s trying to kill us. Death is not our end. It will simply be our entry into a world that will show us more of the awesome power and delights of God than we can even dream of right now.
Through the pain of life, look for the joy that is ALWAYS there close at hand as you rest in the hand of Jesus.