Long ago geographers and anthropologists proved that civilization advances most rapidly in the temperate zones where there is a mixture of weather conditions – summer balminess followed by autumn chill and wintry blasts of wind and snow. The year-round warmth of the tropics makes for spiritual torpor, mental laziness, and physical dullness. It takes all kinds of weather to stimulate men to be at their best.
While we pray for lives full of sunshine and pleasantness, God could do us no greater harm than to answer these prayers, for it takes all kinds of weather to grow a soul. Radiant days are necessary, when bright blessing shine down upon us from above and we absorb providential goodness as a sunny hillside soaks up light. Rainy days are needed when the spirit is refreshed and cleansed as when leaves, grasses, and crops of countless forests and fields drink deeply of heaven’s plenty. But wintry cold and snowy blasts from the North are also required in the temperate life -days when our lives are revealingly tested just as hard winds, heavy snows, and slashing sleet prove the strengths and weaknesses of a Northern woods, bowing snow-laden evergreen limbs in humility and breaking rotten branches off all the trees. So life’s hard weather demonstrates in us what deserves to last and what ought to fade and die. Only winter clearly shows which trees are evergreen!
All weathers make a soul. It was after blindness descended upon John Milton that he wrote his sublimest poetry. Beethoven’s loveliest sonatas were composed after he was stricken with deafness. What would Lincoln be without his lifelong seizures of melancholy? What would Christ be with be without His cross?
An American tourist in Italy watched a lumberjack at work. As the logs floated down the swift mountain stream the lumberman would thrust his hook into a particular log and draw it aside.
“Those logs all look alike, ” said the tourist. “Why do you pick out just a few?”
“They are not all alike,” the lumberman replied. “Some were grown low on the mountainside where they were protected all their lives from harsh winds. Their grains are coarse. They are good only for lumber, so I let them pass on down the stream to the lumber mills. But a few logs grew on the mountain top. From the the time they were tiny seedlings they felt the lashings of high winds and the weight of heavy snows, and they grow strong and tough and fine-grained. We do not use these for ordinary lumber. No, sir! These few are especially selected for choice work.”
So God uses wind buffeted souls for His choicest work.
Harold E. Kohn