george_hancockstefanThis winter has been a challenge for everyone. Government offices were closed in Washington D.C., the governor of Pennsylvania ordered a number of highways to be closed, and the mayor of Baltimore ordered the snow plows to return to their warehouses because of poor visibility. All of these situations happened because it snowed a lot and then it snowed some more.  Places that are not used to snow got 20-30 inches and places that are used to snow got 50-60 inches.

From the time that I was little, I had a fascination with the snow.  We used to have winter breaks from school and my father welcomed these days because I would work with him in the forest cutting wood.  However, there were days when it would snow for days and the height of the snow would be 5-6 feet, so that one could not see the people walking on the other side of the street.  When it stopped snowing, the Danube winds would start blowing and it was cold even sitting in front of the stove.

My fascination with the snow was also biblically based.  I like very much the conversation that God has with Job about snow. In Job 37:6-7 we read that He (God) says to the snow “Fall on the earth” and to the rain, “Be a mighty downpour.” So that all of the men he has made may know his work, he stops every man from his labor. In the next chapter (38:22) it is more poetical when God asks, “Have you entered the storehouse of the snow?”

During the snowstorms I was talking on the phone with my daughter, whose Washington, DC school was closed for five days.  There were three places they could go – their dorm rooms, the cafeteria and the library. There were only so many games they could play and so many TV shows to watch before boredom and restlessness settled in.

However, I also observed that in these situations, people are very helpful to one another.  Neighbors helped one another – plowing snow, shoveling walkways, clearing cars or buying groceries for those who were in need. When I finally got to the seminary in Philadelphia, I saw students going around and helping one another get cars out from the great snow embankments.

I hear from time to time that we as human beings are the masters of our destiny. We need some snowstorms to show that we are not the masters because something like this stops almost the entire traveling system – no planes, a few trains, and almost no cars or buses.  The storehouses of snow were opened and we came to a standstill.  It was during this time that we saw that we are not the masters of our destiny.  Our destiny depends on our neighbors who come to our rescue when we are stuck and it depends on God who can stop us at any time.