When it's dreary outside with fresh snow piled up (again) on the already barren landscape, I become fascinated by the gnarled vines, the black branches that make offerings of emptiness, and the frozen expressions of leaves trapped in ice. Nothing moves. Nothing dances here.
The vines encircle desperately like a snake coiling upon prey. It's nearly impossible not to give in to that icy invitation to admit defeat and surrender to winter melancholy.
But then I remember how Habakkuk proclaims:
"Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights."
As I look up into the distance, I see that we are literally standing on the heights--on one of the highest hills in our neighborhood. Up ahead, another hill (our mountain) delights us with that bit of snow.
I realize I wanted to stay and snap pictures of the gnarled vines, the stark forest. But I couldn't. Not today. Not with the sun shining on us and Habakkuk's prayer in my heart. I look up from my circumstances--no matter how barren--and rejoice in a far greater view.
Journal: In empty seasons, how can I rejoice in God?