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Several mornings ago, we awoke to a transformed world. Glittering white crystals coated every leaf, twig and branch. The grass was a crunchy shag carpet, and solid ice captured the feet of the bronze cupid sitting on the edge of the birdbath. I wanted to wrap a towel around her shoulders.IMG_1326

My shearling slippers and fleece jacket barely kept out the 26 degree chill as I wandered around the back yard with my camera, hoping to capture just a hint of the magical scene. The branches of the tall firs drooped with heavy white icing. Sparkling shards of frozen fog accented each thread of spider webs. Verse 38:29 from the Book of Job came to my mind: “From whose womb did the ice come forth, and who has given birth to the hoarfrost of heaven?”

We’d had cold nights that gradually turned into dull, overcast mornings. Some mornings frost glittered on the lawn and rimmed the rail of the deck. We’d awakened to cold, foggy mornings when we could see nothing past the top of our back fence. But that morning, the perfect combination of cold air, clear skies, and fog combined for a very different result, one that made our breath catch in wonder.

The right combination of conditions can transform our world.

Often we see only the fog, or shiver with anxiety when circumstances drain the warmth out of life. We look for good in a tough situation, try to see our way through confusion, or attempt to bring order into a situation.

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But as the ancient author of Job implies, it’s God the Creator who knows the formulas to create wonders. He is the one who arranged the perfect combination of fog, clear skies and cold air to create a glistening wonderland. His finger pushed the mercury on the thermometer down one degree, his hand whisked the clouds away, he blew his moist breath on our hillside, and the world changed.

I have frequently seen God orchestrate perfect conditions for his children, with their knowing or unknowing cooperation. A long-unemployed man strikes up a random conversation with someone in a checkout line, and ends up getting a job offer. A missionary abruptly moves his family to another part of their island, leaving a comfortable home, and only a few weeks later the home they left is swept away by a tsunami.

While we have our part to seizing the best opportunities to make our lives productive and fulfilled, for those of us who trust Him, God’s in charge. He’s the One who creates the perfect combination of conditions to transform our world into beauty.