snow and flowers

Imagine that a village was found in a remote,  never-before-explored portion of Alaska.  The people there have never left this village.  They’ve never seen anyone outside their tribe.  They’ve never known anything except their own ways.  They’ve never seen even the most basic technology.  They’ve never seen a day without snow.  

Now imagine that you are sent to this tribe to help them understand the concept of  spring.

“When spring comes, it gets warm out.”

“What do you mean by “warm” out?  ” (As long as we’re imagining, imagine they speak perfect English.)

“Well, hot like the fire.  Only not that hot.  It doesn’t burn you.  Just warm like the area around the fire.  Then the snow goes away.”

Confusion reigns.  “If the snow goes away, what do you stand on?”

“There is earth under the snow.  It’s covered in grass.  Grass is green and it grows.  Flowers come up in the spring too.  They are lots of colors and different shapes.”

“This makes no sense.  Where would the snow go?  The snow is everywhere.  What is green?  What are flowers?”

I could go on, but the point I am making is that it is very hard to describe something that is totally, utterly foreign to someone with absolutely no concept of it.  I think that’s why Jesus told so many stories.  (The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, yeast, seeds sown along a path.  God’s love is like a father with a rebellious son.  God is like a Master who is away – will He find you ready when He comes back or will you be playing and partying?)

Sometimes I feel the same way when I’m talking to someone who doesn’t quite get it.  It’s like I’m trying to describe the day that the daffodils start blooming to someone who has only seen snow.  The peace that comes from knowing that God is with me and cares for me, no matter what the circumstance is, well – it really does pass all understanding.  Even greater is the peace that comes from knowing that my sins are forgiven.  Period.  It’s not anything I’ve done or will do – it’s all been done already, by Jesus.  All I had to do was believe it.  But until someone takes that step of faith for themselves, they are still in the snow, hearing about the springtime.  I want so badly to take them with me and say “Dance in this sunny field full of flowers, feel the joy and the warmth!”  The problem is, there’s only one entrance – faith.

Faith isn’t a feeling, it’s a decision.  When I sit in a chair, I have faith it will hold me up.  (I have not always had that faith rewarded.)  When I take a flight I have faith the plane will land safely.  So far I’ve lived, but I am always a bit leery.  With God however, I know, because I’m already through that door, in the field of flowers, that putting faith in Him is absolutely trustworthy.  But I can’t take that step for anyone else.  I wish I could.

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.  Romans 5:1-2

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