Chinook Winds

February 2, 2024


I live in Canada, not far from the majestic Rockies. About 100 times a year I ask my wife, “Why do we live here again?” This is a land of stark contrasts. Winter can plummet to -45 degrees Celsius. A summer heat wave can fry eggs on your forehead.

But winters are more bearable thanks to a Chinook. The word comes from the indigenous word for “migraine headache.” Actually it means “snow eater.” A Chinook starts with good intentions out in the Pacific, then clambers up the mountains, and races down the eastern slopes to free us from winter’s icy clutches.

On January 10th of the year I turned one, the temperature rose 74 degrees in one hour. Half of one guy’s horse had frostbite, the other sunstroke.

We’ve seen snow, sleet, wind, and leaky roofs, all within an hour. And if we aren’t careful, our moods can swing with the weather. All my life when things go right I get a little nervous, wondering when they’ll go wrong again. I expect the worst, in hopes I’ll be better prepared when it shows up.

Reminds me of the farmer whose horse ran away. He told his friends. They said, “We’re sorry, that’s terrible.”

“Maybe,” said the farmer.

The next morning his horse came back bringing seven wild horses with him.

“That’s wonderful,” said his friends.

“Maybe,” said the farmer.

The next day the farmer’s son went out to feed the horses and one of those wild horses kicked him and broke his leg.

“That’s terrible,” said the farmer’s friends.

“Maybe,” said the farmer.

The next day an army conscription officer arrived to enlist all the young men to fight, but the farmer’s son was spared from military service because of his broken leg.

“That’s wonderful,” said the friends.

“Maybe,” said the farmer.

I find it easy to live like those friends, my eyes fixed only on the current situation. I lose perspective. And forget that we live in the middle of the story.

This past week has been unbearably hard for a friend, yet I’ve watched him acknowledge God’s abiding presence while recognizing that hard things are not final things. Such hope isn’t blind to current realities. Storms come. But as followers of Jesus we live with a constant spoiler alert: Hey! Here’s how the book ends. God gets His kids back. And one day all will be well.

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