24941_000_009As we welcomed Daniel home, he looked over the yard, smiled, and said, “I like the snow.”
I hung up the phone, dumbfounded. “I have to call everyone,” I thought. “Pete, Whitney, Kristen …” I fumbled for my planner, too flustered to remember the phone numbers I’d had memorized since middle school.
A few weeks before, our group of friends had mailed Daniel a Christmas package. We had marveled that in a mere six months he would be home from his mission. We could hardly wait!
Then Daniel’s dad had called. Now I wished we still had to wait—bad news suddenly turned six months into three days. Daniel had become so sick he was bedridden, and the doctors didn’t know why.
Besides being worried about his illness, I was heartsick to think of how disappointed he must be. Serving a mission had been his most treasured goal, and the people in Michigan were some of his most beloved friends.
The night before Daniel’s return home, I lay in bed staring out the window. The moon illuminated brown mountains and bare tree branches—nothing like the snow-covered evergreens I pictured in Michigan. I frowned. “It will be even more depressing if he has to come back to this,“ I thought. Climbing out of bed and onto my knees, I prayed that Daniel might be welcomed home by a glistening, white blanket of snow. Before I drifted off to sleep, a few snowflakes flurried outside my window.
The next morning, as we walked to Daniel’s house to await his arrival, beautiful snow crunched under our shoes. I offered a hurried, silent prayer of thanks.
Soon a car pulled into the driveway. Daniel looked frail, but he managed a weak smile and handshake for each of us. As he inched up the walkway, he paused to survey the yard. His smile deepened. “I like the snow,” he murmured. I turned away to hide my tears.
That afternoon, as I drove back to college, I realized more fully what the Lord had done. Only one storm cloud hovered in the sky, directly over our hometown. Less than three miles away from the snow, the sun beamed down on a dry, brown valley.
I had always believed in answers to prayers, even in miracles. But it was the first time I had understood that sometimes God performs small miracles just to show His love. Overwhelmed by the Spirit, I thanked the Lord again for His gift of comfort—a snowstorm for Daniel.
Three months passed before doctors diagnosed his problem—a rare neurological condition. By then it was too late for him to return to the mission field, but he didn’t stop being a missionary. After eight years of friendship with Daniel, Kristen finally agreed to learn about the gospel. She hadn’t believed in Christ—until Daniel began teaching her. Then I knew I was witnessing another miracle.
Two weeks before Daniel had originally been scheduled to come home, Kristen was baptized. Daniel’s most difficult trial had turned into a precious blessing.
Whenever I doubt the same divine guidance amid my own trials, I remember the miracle of Daniel’s snowstorm.