Too Much Snow!

My heart goes out to all of my friends and family in the Eastern US and Midwest that have seen all the snow they care to see for 2014, but I want to share a story that might help them find purpose, gratitude and praise through their pain.

It occurred almost 100 years ago in New York City when my then sixteen-year old father-in-law arrived in the US from southern Italy.  His older brother and sponsor to the US died within 6 weeks of Frank’s arrival in the country.  At that time in history there were no government programs available to help either stranded immigrants or poor US citizens survive such tragedies. Ready and able to work, Frank searched for employment.  He quickly learned employers had no compunction against blatant racial and ethnic hiring practices.  Signs posted outside factories read, “Help wanted!  NO wops, spics,–and the hate list went on–need apply.  When he couldn’t pay the rent on his brother’s flat, the landlady told him on Christmas Eve she would have to evict him, but as a gesture to the spirit of the holiday, she would not do so until the 26th.

Now young Frank was not a God-fearing guy.  In his desperation, he remembered how his mother prayed for her children.  And so, on Christmas Eve,  before he slipped beneath the thin woolen blanket on his cot, he prayed.  When he awakened on Christmas morning, the sooty gray and brown scene outside the grimy third floor window had been covered with a sparkling blanket of  white.  Having never before seen snow, he threw on his clothes and dashed outside to enjoy this icy new world.  The deep drifts had halted the usually busy street traffic.  He made his first snowball.  He helped the neighborhood children build a snowman.  He made snow angels.

Realizing the horse-drawn wagons and the gasoline propelled motor cars couldn’t get through any time soon, he asked a neighbor how the city would clear it before commerce resumed on the day after Christmas.  The man told him the city hired men to shovel it off the roadways.

Immediately Frank headed for city hall.  Surely his ethnicity wouldn’t prevent him from shoveling snow off the streets of the city.  And he was right.  He was given a shovel and told he had a job as long as it took to clear the snow from the roadways.

Do you know that it snowed every day until May 1st.?  I love the promise of Isa. 65:24.  “Before they call I will answer; while  they are yet speaking, I will hear.”Talk about grace!  A gracious God answered a desperate young man’s prayer even when the boy had no belief in that God.  And so began a lifetime of faith and answered prayer that transferred from one generation to the next and the next and the next.

So perhaps the inconveniences caused by the winter of 2014 will make sense when viewed through the eyes of eternity.

 

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