Many people have made it very clear that they are tired of the snow. Personally, I love the snow and the cold. Always have. Yet I understand the desire many have for warmer weather. After being shut up inside all winter long, even I have to admit, it does feels good to get out and stretch a few months. But while so many long for the steamy hot days of summer, let us not dismiss the blessings of snow so quickly.
In God’s response to Job’s questions, among other things, the Lord asked him: “Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow?” (Job 38:22). The word for “treasures” here can be used of a storehouse (I Chron. 9:26), but it can also be used of the treasures themselves (cf. II Chron. 12:9; Prov. 21:6). I think it used in this latter sense here.
There are material benefits to snow. Snow sometimes functions as an insulator in very cold weather. The expression “a blanket of snow” is more meaningful than a lot of people think. Fresh, uncompacted snow is 90 to 95 percent trapped air, which is a good insulator, and the ground temperature can be as much as 40 degrees warmer than the air temperature with a blanket of nine inches of snow. Root systems subjected to extended periods of cold weather can be damaged if there is no snow to insulate the ground.
Snow also serves to replenish the water supply in the ground. Five inches of snow can equal one inch of water when the snow is wet. This “white gold” adds much needed moisture to plants, which continue to lose water through evaporation over the winter. Even in areas where there is no vegetation, the soil still retains the moisture for later growth. The snow also returns chemicals and nutrients to the ground that have been removed by natural process.
Snow melt gives an extra punch to vegetative growth in the Spring. As Isaiah wrote, “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater” (Is. 55:10).
In scripture, snow is used as symbol for purity: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7). “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Is. 1:18). When Jesus was transfigured, His raiment was as “white as snow” (Matt. 28:3), so white no fuller on earth can white them (Mark 9:3). Daniel saw the same thing (Dan. 7:9). When John saw Jesus, the hairs of His head were as white as snow (Rev. 1:14).
Before we complain about the snow too much, let us realize that it is God that gives us the snow (Ps. 147:16; Job 37:6). It fulfills His word (Ps. 148:8). Though it can be harsh at times, it is a symbol of purity. Behold, the treasures of the snow!
Eric L. Padgett