Monday, February 7, 2011

The Secret World of Snowflakes and You

In the last week or two here in the U.S., people have shoveled, scraped and trudged their way through one of the biggest snow storms we (and when I say “we,” I mean “they,” since I’m from Arizona) have seen in quite a while. My guess is most of those people have seen enough snow to last them until December.

But as we take a magnifying glass and look at a single snowflake, we'll see that they really are fascinating little miracles. Just like precious pearls begin as something ordinary--a grain of sand, snowflakes also begin as something just as unpretentious--a dust particle, a piece of volcanic ash or sea salt.

As it falls through the atmosphere, each particle forms into a clear ice crystal, its individual shape and size determined by the various conditions, such as the altitude, temperature and humidity, that each particle encounters as it falls to the ground. The one thing that all snowflakes have in common is that they each have six sides or branches.

All of us are also born with an ingrained imperfection, that is, our sin nature. As we grow, the conditions we encounter, such as the family we grow up in, the experiences we have in life and even our own personalities determine the one-of-a-kind of person we become. But our sin nature continues to act as an irritant, wreaking havoc in our souls.

“’Come now, and let us reason together,’ Says the LORD,
‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
Isaiah 1:18

Interestingly, crimson is deep, red color named after maggot-like insects called Kermes that produce the scarlet color. It’s a type of plant parasite that feeds on the leaves of evergreen oak trees. (Here’s another snowflake factoid to blow your mind: though snowflakes come in many different shapes, the snowflakes with branches like the ones in the picture are called Stellar Dendrite snowflakes. Dentritic means “tree-like.”) Our sin acts like those parasitic creatures, eating away at our joy, our lives and our souls.

The Lord tells us that though we have been stained with the blemish of sin, He will make them white as snow. But we are all individual clear ice crystals, if you will. What makes snow, and us, white?

As snowflakes fall to the ground and begin to gather together, the light shining into the snow gets scattered around inside and is reflected around all those unique six-sided snow prisms and the light that comes back out appears white. And the imperfections are no longer seen.

The Bible refers to the number six as the number of mankind, of incompleteness. Just as the one commonality among snowflakes is that they have six sides, we all have in common our imperfect humanity. Without Christ, we are incomplete and impure. But as we receive Jesus Christ by faith and become part of God’s family, His light shines into us and is filtered back out through the prism of our character, purifying our hearts and making us white as snow.

It’s amazing to me that God made snowflakes as a microscopic allegory showing us our need for Him. It’s as if He calls to us in the whisper of a tiny, almost secret world and says, “I know all about your weaknesses, your frailties, your sins, but the power of my love can overcome all that!” You have come through different backgrounds, different circumstances, different sufferings and different joys than anyone else. And the shape that your heart and mind have become through your own uniquely-designed life allows Christ to shine through you in the extraordinary ways He’s chosen just for you and the lives around you.

Praise the Lord!

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Thanks for sharing!