I have to admit my love for winter has taken a huge hit since April began. I’ve lost count of how many times I came back to the house hot & sweaty after a morning, noon and/or evening walk behind the snow blower. The gas can is empty, the snow shovel is worn down to a nub and flakes are still falling. The first storm of the month was disheartening but surely it would be the last big one, so it was tolerable. Then winter storm Xanto hit! A record April system which led to a record April snowfall total (by 8 inches with 13 days to go). Come on! I have had a couple of frank (and emphatic) discussions with God about why this is happening and while He has not opened up those secrets to me, I was reminded of something from a few years ago. I was standing on the shore of Lake Huron, gazing out over a beach that had become incredibly large due to drought-like conditions. As a native Michigander, it was quite alarming to see how far one of the Great Lakes had receded over a period of just two or three years. I also remember that one of the contributing factors was inadequate winter snows that melt and replenish water tables. We aren’t going to have to worry about low lake levels this summer! You see where I’m going, right? Life is full of late winter storms: unexpected calamity, ill-timed (to us) circumstances, and obstacles that alter plans. These things often quickly prompt “woe is me” wails, prayers for deliverance and frustration as we ask, “why?” But the truth is that everything God allows to reach us, has a purpose, regardless of our perception that it’s a problem. While we will never know all of the reasons for these challenging things (in this lifetime), Peter, the lead follower of Jesus during his three-year ministry on earth gives us one purpose that applies to all of them: “…though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:6–7 (NIV84). All of these difficult things aren’t road blocks at all, they’re the building blocks of faith! Yes, there are negative aspects that come alongside the opportunities (they are undeniably difficult), but in every instance, they are intended to bring us closer to Christ! I’m not sure what you’re thinking right now, but this truth makes me want to postpone my self-pity and misery and, instead, meet each challenge with a prayer of thanks, words of praise, and an expectation of growing faith! How about you? Grab those blocks and start building!