Ice and Snow, Bless the Lord! Really?

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin

Frost and chill, bless the Lord.
Ice and snow, bless the Lord.
Praise and exalt him above all forever. (Dn 3: 69-70)

“Ice and snow, bless the Lord.” I prayed these words once again recently in Morning Prayer and, frankly, they just left me cold.
These words of praise were sung by Azariah, one of the three brave young men who were cast into Nebuchadnezzar’s white hot furnace as punishment for their disobedience to the king. (The story is found in chapter three of the Book of Daniel.) Maybe the image of cold and chill, and ice and snow, was comforting for the young heroes in the midst of their torture, but not so much for me right now.
After all, as I write these words, we’ve just been through an historic blizzard, a sleet and freezing-rain storm, and a flash freeze that has turned the local landscape into a skating rink. It’s treacherous to drive or walk. Even a brief walk with the dog outside is akin to the trans-Alaskan Iditarod. I look at my front porch and long for that day when the snow shovel and road salt will be replaced by the wicker furniture and hummingbird feeder. And I know that winter isn’t nearly over yet. The groundhog said so.
“Ice and snow, bless the Lord?” Bah, humbug!
I know I’m being cranky but I just happen to like summer a whole lot more than winter. Maybe you do too. However, the Scripture verses cited above remind us that we should be able to praise the Lord in every season of the year, and that we should be able to praise him in every season of life too.
There are times in our life that seem like summer, filled with sunlight and warmth, relaxation, peace and joy. These are the times when everything seems to be going well and we are at peace. But there are other times that are more like winter; when we’re confronted with problems and challenges, sorrows and suffering. Our lives, then, feel cold, dark and dreary, and we yearn for just a little bit of sunlight.
One of the signs of a mature Christian faith, I think, is the ability to see God’s presence in both the summer and winter of life, in the good times and bad alike. Consider the example of the long-suffering Job who proclaimed: “We accept good things from God; should we not accept evil as well?” (Job 2:10)
Something to think about: Right now, does your life feel more like summer or winter?