The Snowflake Cross – Divine Gifts of God’s Goodness and Love
“Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, some day far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
The last week has had me wondering about the circumstances in my life. I’ve been contemplating the why’s, which is never a good thing. I know better than to give mental space to questions that cannot be answered.
There seem to be times in life when the pull to do so is overwhelming, as if you’re being dragged there slowly. Maybe it’s a word, a phrase, a simple conversation or just an image that tips the whole thing over and there you go, knocked off your balance, slipping and falling into the questions. You keep holding on, telling your mind the right answers along the way, but somehow that last little thing was just the amount of added weight to send you into that place. The asking place.
Most times I rely on my understanding of who God is, the God I’ve come to know, as I’ve battled out my faith through trying times. He’s always been faithful. He’s good. He’s loving. He’s perfect and unchanging. Truths my life has rested upon. Truths I’ve clung to, even when they’re all I’ve had, grasping at them, a life-line thrown to me in the midst of the stormy sea of life. God has always provided. He’s always met me in those places. In my hanging on and clutching the truth, in seeking Him, I find He holds me up with strong arms of love and provision. Just what I need, at just the right moment. Not a moment too soon. Not a moment too late.
I’m always surprised and humbled to experience His love in the small, but tangible ways He brings. Tuesday was one of those times. Actually this week was filled with those moments, quiet moments where behind the scenes God was working, and at just the right moment presenting me with gifts wrapped in His love.
I recently told a friend, I sometimes feel a bit embarrassed when someone asks my story. It’s almost ridiculous. It’s certainly not the worst. I’m so aware there are many, many people suffering enormously in this world, in much worse circumstances. Yet when I’ve been asked and I tell, even just the basics, often I get the look. Eyes glaze over and a look of sadness, almost pity comes across people’s faces. I want to scream, it’s not that bad. I try to say, there is great joy. God is faithful in the midst of any circumstances; I know that to be true. I’d bet my life on it. Sometimes the glazed look changes into one of understanding and empathy. Often these people share a knowledge of the love of a perfect, divine God who longs for and enjoys relationship. Other times people walk away, glazed look intact, shaking their heads. Poor girl.
It’s those moments, one after another, that worm their way into my consciousness. Questions, doubts and concern over the future burrow deep and wait. At just the right moment, they reveal themselves and I recognize them for what they are. Then the wrestling begins.
The question at the heart of it all is one of God’s goodness. Is He good? And is He good, despite circumstances? Out of this wrestling in the one safe place, before God, answers to the circumstances may or may not come. They don’t need to. The internal struggle is overcome. In its place is restored peace and confidence in a God, who loves perfectly. A God who meets us in our most vulnerable moments to whisper His deep, abiding love for us.
Gifts of Love
During the wrestling this week, gifts wrapped in His love were left in the most unexpected places. A close friend of mine, Lori, wanted to give my daughter a gift for her birthday. She decided, out of the blue, to knit a Christmas ornament for her. She crafted one for my son, too. Earlier in the week, I’d walked through a store just beginning to decorate for Christmas. My excitement at seeing the twinkling lights came to a halt, when I saw an angel ornament resting under a snowy white tree. It reminded me of an ornament given to me years ago by my dear friend, Suzi, who recently passed away. My heart stung with the knowledge that this year, she wouldn’t be here to celebrate. All the different ornaments Suzi had gifted me with over the years, some of which she’d made by hand, played on a slideshow in my mind.
I hadn’t told Lori about my moment in the store. I prayed about it, giving God my sadness and telling him I didn’t know how Christmas would be without Suzi. When I saw Lori, she told me she didn’t know why, but had just decided she wanted to make mitten ornaments for my children. I knew immediately, Christmas is and will still be a celebration. The loss of Sue will no doubt be felt deeply. But so will her love for Christmas, in all its meaning and splendor.
Along with my thoughts about loss, a conversation I had recently stuck in my mind. It was just a kernel of a thought, but it stuck, leading to wonderings about my daughter’s faith. This past summer, Sofia very specifically prayed to know Jesus. She was deliberate about wanting to pray. We read her Bible often, which she loves and she loves going to her class at church. I was excited she wanted to pray. I didn’t question it. Who am I to question the divine prodding of a child’s heart? I was happy.
Yet this week, the thought kept popping up about how much she really understood. How much could she understand? It was unsettling. Days after my conversation with Lori, she finished the ornaments and presented them to me to give to my kids, wrapped in a beautiful knit bag. I thanked her for her generosity and reached in to pull out the first ornament. It was Sofia’s, a cream colored mitten with beautiful red detail. As I pulled it out of the bag, the first thing my eyes fell upon was a cross, knit onto one side, in the shape of a snowflake. My heart skipped a beat. Seeing the cross, it was like God whispered to me, “She is mine. She is my child that I love.” My sweet friend began to apologize, having wanted the snowflake to be in perfect proportion. I couldn’t really find the words, other than to say, “No. It’s perfect. It’s beautiful.”
One beautiful gift made by a dear friend, filled with great meaning, more than she even imagined, spoke into the inner recesses of my heart by a God who loves me. Other divine gifts given during the week whispered His love for me, as well. Rather than rebuking me for my struggle, He gifted me with evidences of His love and goodness. I have to wonder if there are gifts abounding each day that I miss in my busyness. I want to unwrap them all; all blessings from God.
Is God good? Absolutely. In all things. I’m so grateful for His love. Who am I that He would answer me at all, and answer me with His love? One beautiful gift multiplied into two answers and an immeasurable amount of peace and joy.
“The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all His creation.” Psalm 145:9 NLT