PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: THE TREASURE OF AN EASTER WEEK SNOW
By: Ron Woodrum
This past week we were all surprised by the sudden winter storm that left 5-7 inches of very wet Spring snow as we began the week leading up to Easter. God used the snow to give a message to Job. Isaiah and David both understood the snow to give an object lesson of the Gospel to all who have eyes to see. It might be good for us to revisit the treasure locked in this Easter snow. Waking up Saturday morning reminded me of a quote I had read in a book by Frederich Buechner called Telling the Truth. He wrote, “You wake up on a winter morning and pull up the shade, and what lay there the evening before is no longer there–the sodden gray yard, the dog droppings, the tire tracks in the frozen mud, the broken lawn chair you forgot to take in lasts fall. All this has disappeared overnight, and what you look out on is not the snow of Narnia but the snow of home, which is no less shimmering and white as it falls. The earth is covered with it, and it is falling still in silence so deep you can hear its silence. It is snow to be shoveled, to make driving even worse than usual, snow to be joked about and cursed at, but unless the child in you is entirely dead, it is snow, too, that can make the heart beat faster when it catches you by surprise that way, before your defenses are up. It is snow that can awaken memories of things more wonderful than anything you ever knew or dreamed.” The Bible has a lot to say about “snow”. In one Scripture, in particular, God, (pointing out the ignorance of Job), asks, “Have you personally taken inventory of the wondrous treasure-house of snow that I reserve in the Heavens?” (Job 38:22). God was reminding him, and us, of his power to display His glory, wonder, power, and awe, by sending a silent but substantial storm that deposits snow that covers the land and leaves us awe-struck. Scientists have been awe-struck by the glory and majesty of the snowflake. The snowflake is amazing. This tiny six-sided miracle of creation baffles scientists with its ingenious structure and awe-inspiring beauty. This magnificent piece of art is a perfect example of pure beauty and marvel. Wilson Bently was one of the first to take photomicrographs of a snowflake. He photographed snowflakes for over 47 years! He discovered that the average snowflake is made up of 2 to 200 separate snow crystals, larger ones containing over 1000 separate snow crystals. These crystals form around tiny dust particles that have been carried high into the atmosphere. When the temperature drops below freezing water vapor clings to these dust particles. The water vapor skips the liquid stage and turns directly into ice, in a process called sublimation. The moisture turning into ice crystals then begins to fall as snow. There are four different types of six-sided snowflakes with no two flakes alike! Each snowflake a geometric hexagonal structure, similar to the honeycomb of bees, which scientists believe provide the maximum space to compact the maximum ice crystals, or honey in this tiny storehouse. God took credit for that design being beyond Job’s comprehension! Johannes Kepler studied snowflakes for years and came to the conclusion that this well-thought-out pattern can only have been the imprint of an all-wise artistic Creator! The Bible tells us that God’s power and glory is revealed in the snow,”He spreads the snow like wool, and scatters the frost like ashes” (Psalm 147:16); The weather is ruled by Almighty God-“lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding” (Ps. 148:8). Daniel’s vision of the Ancient of Days in his heavenly glory was seated on a flaming throne and wearing clothes that were “white as snow” (Dan. 7:4). When Jesus was transfigured on the Mt. of Transfiguration that Jesus’ clothes became shining, exceeding white, like snow” (Mark 9:2-4). On the first Easter, the angel that rolled the stone of the tomb away was sitting on it with clothes “as white as snow”. (Matthew 28:3). And of course, in John’s parallel vision to that of Daniel, he too saw Jesus in all His glory, and takes note that “the hair of His hair was white like wool, white as snow”. So snow symbolizes the glory of the purity of God, revealed in His Son Jesus Christ.
To carry this thought to its practical conclusion results in snow being an illustration of the purity that becomes the possession of the sinner that has his crimson sin-stains washed white in the shed blood of the Sacrifice of Calvary. We read David’s pray of confession in Psalm 51. He pleads, “wash me and I shall be whiter than snow!” Isaiah, pleading with a sinful people who were sick from the top of their heads, to the bottom of the soles of their feet, to come “let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow: though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool”. One of the most interesting stories in the Old Testament is the story of Beniah. He was a special warrior of King David, who later became the head of the army for David’s son, King Solomon. On one occasion the Scripture records one of the amazing feats of Beniah. He is said to have jumped into a snow pit and killed a lion. This is what the Scripture says in I Chronicles 11:22. “Beniah, son of Jehoida, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a snowy pit on a snowy day and killed a lion”. Imagine this warrior. He falls into a pit only to be confronted by a vicious lion. Imagine the dead lion’s blood staining the pure white snow. What a contrast! What an illustration. Sin as crimson as blood…covered with blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world leaves the sinner pure as freshly fallen snow. Erwin Lutzer tells how a fresh snowfall is an illustration of how God can cover “the dirtiness of the earth with the purity of his grace”. Warren Wiersbe tells a story of an English father that took his son to watch a parade that displayed the British army dressed in their brilliant red coats. The father asked the son if he saw their red coats. He responded that he only saw white coats. The father was puzzled, but understood as the looked down at his son. The son stood at the window, but his eyes were looking through the red stain glass that bordered the window from which they were watching the parade. Looking at red, through red, resulted in white! When God sees our crimson stain through the prism of the crimson blood of his son, we are white as wool, white as the freshly fallen snow! Those sudden heavy snows can cover some pretty big stuff. Some pretty ugly stuff! Don’t lose the wonder! That is what God can do from His treasure-house of Grace! A great reminder as we started the week that concludes with the triumph of Calvary and the Transformation of Easter!