Are You Looking for More?
Twenty hours of cross-country driving delivered my family to the foothills of the Wasatch Range of the Utah Rockies. We were there to ski, excited to have finally arrived at the base of the Big Cottonwood Canyon. We were excited right up until we saw these oxygen-sucking words spraypainted across the face of a cliff: Pray for snow.
I’m not sure any of us prayed, but I know we hoped.
Those were the days before smartphones, weather apps, and Facebook. We simply piled in the van and headed west. It was winter. In the mountains. Of course, there would be snow. And there was. Sort of.
We needed more.
When we arrived at the top of the canyon, the white slopes were pocked by bare patches. Still, they were covered with skiers. We pulled out our gear, bought our lift tickets, and slid into line. Things were worse than they looked from the parking lot. The white was ice, not snow. And while some of the bare patches were grass, others were terror-inducing boulders that we slid down rather than skiing across. The upper lifts weren’t even open.
Brighton, where we’d been taking early-season ski trips for years, was known for its consistent and plentiful powder. We’d never seen it like this. When we went in for dinner, we were worn from fighting the conditions and our own discouragement. Even so, we trudged back out for night skiing. While we were out, snow began to fall—the fairytale variety with fluffy flakes that floated straight down and cloaked the mountain with quiet. It was reminiscent of a snowfall that thrilled my whole class back in fifth grade–until our teacher dashed our hopes with these words: “Flakes this big won’t last long.”
Maybe not in the midwest.
Things were different in Utah.
Snow fell all evening. It swallowed bare spots, ice, and boulders and clung to our hats, coats, and eyelashes. Sluggish lift operators revived, laughing and bantering with us as they dispersed the rapidly accumulating flakes from the chairlifts with vigorous thwacks from their cut-off brooms. We stayed on the slopes until the lifts shut down.
When we woke the next morning, it was to the muffled silence of falling snow. Occasional shots from the avalanche cannon broke the stillness. Despite protests from our weary bodies, we dragged ourselves from our bunks and down the stairs to finish waking up with hot chocolate by the fire.
“Good morning!” Monika, the matter-of-fact lodge manager, practically sang out. “The canyon road is closed due to avalanche risk, but the lifts are up and running.”
At that, we sped through breakfast and pulled on our gear. We climbed the little hill to the pine-lined path, pushed ourselves to the lift, and joined the small but jovial group of skiers.
The powder was perfect.
Heavy snow fell for four days. Every morning, we woke to the sound of avalanche cannons and the news that the canyon was closed. Only a few hardy souls braved it in the afternoon, so we spent four line-free days frolicking in ever-deepening powder. The landscape softened under a blanket of white, and the pines bent under their burden of snow. The upper lifts opened, where the best skiers in the family cut and carved, throwing snow as they hopped around moguls.
When the veil finally lifted, five new feet of powder covered the mountain. We had hoped—maybe even prayed—for snow, but probably not for specific measurements and definitely not for anything close to this amount. If forced to give a number, I would have asked for six or twelve or maybe, if I really stretched my thinking, eighteen inches—a little every day. Five feet was beyond my capacity to imagine.
That’s the point.
It’s the point God makes when he beckons us into the outdoors. Creation is one place God shows us who he is, what he does, and what he’s like. It’s the point he made to a midwesterner through a gentle, four-day, five-foot mountain snowfall. God isn’t limited by what we know or what we think. He does more. More than we ask for. More than we can imagine.
That’s our hope.
This is as true in the landscape of our lives as it was on that winter on the mountain. When we’re worn from fighting the conditions or our own discouragement, and we need some figurative snow to fall, God can do more. In his time and his way, he can do more than we can ask or even imagine. God is always at work. He’s always making ways in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, and, sometimes, snow on the slopes.
How has God made his point to you in the landscape of your life? Let us know–we’d love to hear.
Happy trails ~
Photo credit: Sébastien Marchand via Unsplash