I’m sure my friends from cooler climates might scoff at this post. I think of my friends Derek and Kim Spain in Lake Placid New York where they have ankle deep snow from Thanksgiving until Mother’s Day. They’re sure to miss the point of the romantic nature of snow. To them, and others like them, snow is a pain. But they both are from Georgia so maybe they can remember what it felt like before they moved to the icy tundra of Lake Placid. Perhaps most of you readers will understand.
When snow falls in Georgia so many things happen that to me resemble what happens when God’s Spirit begins to move. Read on and see if you agree.
The Forecast: A spirit of expectancy takes us over. Children begin praying for snow to fall - especially on a school day. It’s all anybody is thinking about. Total strangers will begin communicating at the gas station and in the grocery store lines. A unity of expectancy takes place where before we would never interact with so many different people from so many different backgrounds. The TV stations have round the clock coverage and study all the computer models available. Because snow in Georgia is a rare thing.
The Preparation: Once it looks like snow is definitely coming the stores are flooded. Everyone needs BREAD and MILK - even though we might not even eat that much bread or drink that much milk. For us it was a frozen pizza, some ice cream sandwiches and lots of 2 liter drinks…you know, the important stuff. And then there’s the “what if the power goes out” drill. You have to: find the candles, find the flashlights, find the battery powered radio, park the cars in places you know you can get out of and avoid tree branches falling, make the outside faucets drip, bring in some firewood or get some at the store, pull the snow clothes out of the attic… and so on. When snow is coming in Georgia - you don’t want to be found unprepared.
The Arrival: Perhaps the most magical moment of all. When the first bit of snow begins to fall it’s as if the world stops. A stillness fills the air and all worries seem to drift to the ground. There is a purity in the air that seeps into our minds and causes us to be different. Grown men begin walking through parking lots with their tongues hanging out trying to catch a flake of snow. There’s a euphoria that comes over Georgians causing us to embrace a perfect stranger. As we travel through the magical white fluffy substance back to our prepared homes, we might stop to help a stranded motorist or pick up fallen limbs off the road to help the guy behind us. The “spirit” of snow in Georgia has permeated our hard calloused hearts and we sense life.
The Lock-Down: This is perhaps the most powerful part of the Snow in Georgia experience. You can’t go to work. You can’t go to school. You can’t go to the store or the movies. You have to sit in your home or play outside with your friends and family. There are no other options. The sun reflects on the snow covered ground and tree limbs and the light envelopes us like no other time. It’s as if the snow beckons us to come and enjoy it. Make a snowball. Make a snowman. Make some Snow-Cream - just avoid the yellow snow right? Regardless of how we enjoy it - we enjoy it. The evening news replaces their usual list of crime stories with images of kids sledding and dad’s doing crazy stunts with their four wheelers. We’ll linger over a cup of hot chocolate. We’ll sit around a table and play a board game with our kids. Why, the snow has slowed us down long enough to see the things in our lives that truly matter.
The After-effects: Snow doesn’t stay around long in Georgia. It’s usually a one or two day event. And once the pure white snow melts away we see very clearly how truly UNPREPARED we were for it. Tree branches that should have been pruned out long ago snap under the weight of the snow and sometimes leave painful damage. The ground becomes saturated in a sloppy mess of slush and mud. Slowly our lives get back up to speed like they were before the forecast - but the snow has left its mark. It has made a difference in our lives.
The Point: I’m praying for a spiritual Georgia snow storm in our hearts. The forecast builds expectancy in our hearts that the God of the universe has plans for our lives and wants us to encounter His Spirit. Will He speak to our church body THIS Sunday? Like children awaiting school closures, let‘s pray for God‘s arrival in our hearts.
And lets PREPARE for it. We need to put within easy reach the tools that God uses in our lives during a visitation like this. His Word is a (flash)light unto our path. Prayer and confession are the provisions to ensure we are fed during His visitation. And like finding the right place to park the car, let’s park our hearts in the path of least resistance for God to move.
When the Arrival of His Spirit comes, the fellowship among other believers will be heightened. Our petty differences will melt away and we will know that we are a part of God’s event. We’ll sense our hearts reach out to one another in love. A fresh spirit will fall on our churches. The music will seem more dynamic. The preaching will be more piercing. The fellowship will be sweeter.
And when the spiritual lock-down happens. I pray for the moment where we’ll forget about time and space and be on our knees being ministered to by the Holy Spirit. We’ll stay together as a body of believers as long as it takes for us to know we’ve done business with God. Perhaps a move of God’s Spirit will flow from this revival falling on us - that whole communities will get saved. Entire school faculties or office staff will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus and we’ll see life differently because we’ll know we were a part of God’s visitation.
Finally, the after effects will reveal where we weren’t disciplined to prune the dead branches from our soul. We’ll live a more Christ-like life and our hearts will be saturated with God’s goodness.
I’m looking for this kind of stow storm next Sunday - how about you? I gotta go get my boots on and play in the snow that’s here right now.
God Bless, JON