a lesson from the snowflakes

Snowflakes? What could we possibly learn from something that disappears in seconds if it lands on your hand? We know that each has an intricate beauty all it’s own, but we can’t easily see that without magnification. A snowflake is so small that each is insignificant. Yet there is power in these miniscule masterpieces. And that’s where the lesson lies.

I looked out the window the other morning, after a day of snow and high winds. As usual when there’s a lot of wind with the snow, there were areas of bare ground and others with sculpted snow piles. The contrast can be startling, and it’s interesting to see which areas are clear after each storm. As I focused in closer, I saw a wave of snow within the window frame, curled in toward the window.  It was amazing to see how smooth the curve was and how deeply it curled over the clear area underneath. And that’s when I realized just what the snowflake can teach us.

You see, it is when the individual snowflakes work together that they begin to accomplish things. A few hundred thousand and you’ve got a snowball. A couple trillion and you have to stop and clean your car before you can drive. Get enough of them together, and they can tie up miles of traffic on the highway.

Like a snowflake, on our own we may feel insignificant and powerless against the forces blowing around us. But if God can cause the snowflakes to bind together is such a way that they can withstand the power of the wind, imagine what God can do with us. After all, with the snowflakes, it’s a matter of God-given structure. With us, we have our God-given gifts plus the capability of finding a way to bring out the best in our combined gifts.

As we face the challenges of the coming year, can we learn from the snowflakes? Can we seek out ways to come together and use our God-given gifts to make our world a better place? Lets start a conversation – after church, at the grocery store, over coffee – where doesn’t matter, what matters is that we come together. Will you join?

perspective

I live near a trio of wind turbines. I find them elegant and inspiring, creating something out of what is invisible to the eye. I’d love to see more of them around and I’d put one in my yard if I could.
I can see these turbines from many different vantage points in my travels. I’d gotten used to seeing them on my way to work, but I remember the first time I saw them on the way home, I was so surprised. They weren’t where my mind thought they should be! Then some time later, I saw them from the highway I usually travel. They were always there of course, I just hadn’t noticed them. Then last Winter I saw them as I was driving home from my daughter’s. By that time I was getting used to noticing the turbines, but this was totally unexpected because I couldn’t visualize how it was possible to see them from there.
I got to thinking about that phenomenon today as I was stuck in traffic at a point where I could watch the blades slowly spin in a light breeze. And I realized my problem is perspective. I’m always looking at the turbines from ground level. If I change my perspective, look at them from a bird’s eye view, it all starts to make sense. I can see that the roads I usually travel form a semi-circle around the wind turbines, so of course if I care to notice I will be able to see them. And the road from my daughter’s? It’s a spoke off that semi-circle. The view of the turbines is blocked part of the year along that road because of all the leaves on the trees, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
This reminds me of God’s place in my life. Like the wind turbines, God creates things out of what is invisible to my eyes. My life circles around a God standing straight and tall in the center – even when the road I’m on doesn’t seem like it should let me see God. Though it can be a pleasant surprise to suddenly see the turbines, I shouldn’t be surprised, just as it shouldn’t be a surprised to see God at work in my life and the lives of those around me. I just need to remember when things seem unclear, I need to change my perspective. To stop looking from my narrow point of view and look at things from God’s point of view.
I need to remember that I do not see things as God does. But if I take the time to adjust my perspective, I can certainly see things more clearly.