All Things Beautiful in His Time

Glacier Bay, Alaska
        The thermometer is sizzling at 113 degrees and the coolest place in the desert is the freezer section of the grocery store. I walk out into the night heat of 97 degrees thinking perhaps it should be nighttime for three months in the summer desert instead of dark for three months in the Alaskan winter.

Waterfall into Mendenhall Glacier
      What would it be like strolling the dimly lit streets of northern Alaska in frigid winter, I wonder. They do get sunlight even in the northern most areas for at least two hours every day. And the sunlit hours increase after the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year, December 21).

Eagles Roosting in a Ketchikan Bay
       Being critter squeamish, my first thought is, "what would I step on in the dark streets of Alaska?" At least I would not have to worry about our desert dwellers such as tarantulas, scorpions, a gazillion other arachnids, fancy varieties of beetles, and, heaven-help-me, snakes. Nothing that crawls could live in Alaska's cold, dark days when temperatures shiver below 0, around -19 degrees. That's the January average in the city of Fairbanks.

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska
       What a contrast to the beauty one beholds in the Alaskan summer along the Southeastern peninsula of rain forests, glaciers, and abundant wildlife. Even inland, the summer climate produces carpets of wildflowers, densely green forested mountains, and swaths of reds, burnt oranges, and tans across barren tundra.

Nootka Lupine, Rain Forest, Juneau
Rain Forest, Ketchikan, Alaska
         The reality is harsh. It takes the bitter-cold, hard winters, months full of darkness, and the chilling wind of isolation to create the heavenliness that makes more than 1 million people trek into Alaska's rugged summer splendor. From such brutal conditions spring delicate wildflowers, breathtaking expanses of glacier draped mountains, and the majesty of God's jagged mountain peaks. And we stand in awe of His wondrous creations

White Mountain Pass, Skagway, Alaska
      No one in his/her right mind would choose to endure unbidden harshness in one's life. No one really desires isolation for any length of time except for specific disciplines. We were created as social beings, our spirits longing for companionship. And few, if any, welcome the metaphorical dark times in life. The extremes of life--both harsh cold and sweltering heat drive us to find the comfortable temperate zone. Shade or air-conditioning to insulate against the heat. Animal furs or furnace driven heat to warm the frozen night.
       Yet, if out of such harsh weather, God creates exquisite beauty, why do we doubt and fret that out of our harsh life circumstances, He can create beauty in our lives as well.

White Mountain Pass, Skagway, Alaska
Icebergs at Mendenhall Glacier

     Oh, if there was another way, I would jump at that opportunity to have God's beauty in my life without the ashes, the joy without trials or mourning, praise for Him without first traveling the rough road of despair. Yet, He has a better way. And may He work an acceptance and joy in my heart when He allows the darkness and cold to descend upon my life, for out of it, He will bring HIS beauty.

Denali, Alaska
      Now, if I can just endure this heat.

White Mountain Pass, Skagway

     " bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair (heaviness). They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the DISPLAY OF HIS SPLENDOR." Isaiah 61:3 NIV (parenthesis, mine)

From My Heart to Yours,

Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose on Thursdays (a little late)
and Spiritual Sundays

Sundays spent with HIM

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