This photo comes from the first walk in the snow this season. The first snow. The first time God painted the world white this year. Taking his time to not leave out any leaf, branch, twig or pebble. One of my dear friends has a beautiful saying every snow fall.
~There is no wayward snowflake.~
God knows and places each one. He has formed each minuscule crystal and crafted it for each landing. Can you imagine the power and delicacy of the hands of God as he crafts our world?
On one blissful walk to school with my child in the snow he asked why we have snow. Given that weather patterns are just as mystical to his mind as God, I answered simply “because God wanted to love you today.” This particular child of mine LOVES snow. He is never more joyful than when he is out playing in it. He has an affection to be outside that I rarely witness in children. I heard a broadcast one day that listed the different types of “intelligence” that God creates in us. This one was definitely created with an outdoor intelligence. He notices things about his surroundings that I never pick up on. He is the first to hear the birds when we step outside. He is the first to notice every creepy, crawly creature in his path. The first time I set him on grass as a baby he rolled around in enjoyment. He is an impossibly active child that used to drive me insane. Then one day I took him on a hike with me. He sat in complete stillness and silence as he watched the water. He absolutely loves to do anything he can outside. As his wonder turned to the snow that morning and he heard my answer, his eyes got wide, and his smile widened as he lifted up his face to catch his gift from God. As each giant snowflake fell on his cute little hat and eyelashes I thought “there is no wayward snowflake.” God places each one on his face as an act of love for him, to bring his child joy from his Creator. To bring worship out of his little heart for the one true God.
We are currently nearing the end of the season of Advent. A season of waiting and anticipation. The coming of the end of this season brings with it a whole host of circumstances, revelations and emotions to contend with. We delight in the celebration of the birth of our Lord. This beautifully simple story that is the perfect depiction of the love our God has for us. Along with it though, we have so many expectations placed on us. Family gatherings of all shapes, sizes and stress levels, the ‘right’ foods to prepare and enjoy, a gift for each and every person that means something to us or serves us in some way, our home to be festive in Pinterest worthy decor, ourselves and our children to be learning and growing in the art of giving, and the ironic expectation that we should be full of good cheer despite all the extra expectations on our time, money and psyches. Anybody else really ready for our Lord to come again and remind us of why we are celebrating this holiday in the first place?
More often during this time, I think about those of us that continue this Advent season long after December 25th. As if a day on the calendar could make us feel closer to our God. What about those of us that are still waiting for the Lord to act? We all have seasons when we are figuring things out, and the Lord doesn’t seem to be near. He is painfully silent and seemingly absent. Questionably inactive. These seasons of waiting are lonely and equally full of expectation. Expectation to remain faithful and full of Christ’s love even when we are feeling more lost than found. Will the Lord show himself as he has promised? Will he move again to overwhelm us with his love? Will the Advent season of our lives come to an equally magnificent break through of love and presence as it did after 400 years of waiting in Bethlehem? As we painfully ask for direction and continue to wait and wait on his presence, does he remember his disciple?
Over the years I’ve heard a number of responses to this waiting experience. The one that stands out to me the most is one I’ve heard more times that I care to count. “God is stationary. If you don’t feel close to him, then who moved?” My heart breaks for everyone that believes this lie, spoken from the mouths of well meaning leaders in faith. It simply is not true. That is not the God we have. Do not believe for a moment that your God would be distant for anything other than your good. Before the fall, Adam and Eve enjoyed a right and beautifully perfect relationship with God. During this time of relational perfection, God regularly moved in and out of time with them. In perfection, Adam and Eve had time away from God. From their experience we learn a few things.
God moves. He leads, he follows, he dwells, he pushes. He moves.
It is for our good. It is for our growth in our relationship with him to have times of space.
This relational undulation is his design. It is not the result of sinfulness on the part of Adam and Eve. It is not something they did, or did not do to cause a separation between themselves and God. It is simply the nature of design for our relationship with him. Can sin cause separation between us and God? Of course. That is the nature of sin. But to assume that is the only reason for his absence is to ignore the fact that it is by God’s doing and his design that we relate to him in this way on occasion.
Each of my heroes of faith experienced this time of separation, with equal levels of frustration and loneliness. Mother Teresa, Corrie Ten Boom, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the list goes on and on. Each one a magnificent depiction of a disciple that experienced the same separation we do.
What do we do then? What do we do in the Advent times of anticipation and waiting in our lives? No date on the calendar is going to change that. God does not live by our calculations or expectations. If there’s nothing we can do to bring ourselves closer to him until a time of his choosing, then what do we do?
We do two things.
We look out our window and enjoy the snow. If there is no wayward snowflake, there is no wayward soul. If our God can place each fragment of frozen water in its place, he knows exactly where we are. He knows exactly what he’s doing. We stand in that truth and believe his promises even when we don’t feel them.
We love today. God is love. He does not simply provide it to us, or lavish it on us, he IS love. When we act in love we are reminded of his promises and his truth. When we wake up every day we ask God to show us who to love today. Over and over and over again we love each person he puts in our path. We love.
And as we are standing in his promises, and acting in his love, he will show his face again. He will ignite the peace and passion of his Son Jesus Christ into our hearts once again, as he has time and time again in our past. He will give us our direction. He will answer our prayers. He will show up. He will love. He will be our God.
So today, we lift up our faces to receive every gift he has to give and worship the God of each and every snowflake.
Consider the Word
What are God’s actions during this scene? What of his actions do you see in his relationship with Adam and Eve? What does this tell you about their relationship before the fall?
Ephesians 5:1-20 Ephesians is full of practical advice for living in Christ’s love. Take some time to reflect on what God is asking you to do from this passage. None of us will fulfill everything he wants for us, but who is God asking you to love today and how?
Jeremiah 29:11-14 God will answer. God will provide. Commit this verse to memory and use it to answer any lies that enter your mind. Use this as your battle cry as you trust and serve the Lord.