i once tried to explain snow to a little dark skinned girl living on the equator. in that moment i wished my college creative writing teacher had given me that impossible task of searching out words that could adequately explain snow to a child who had no reference point to comprehend it. ‘a snow man is a man who brings the snow? or sells the snow? or takes the snow away?’ ‘cold like ice, but fluffy like cotton?’ giggle giggle giggle; she looked at me with those laughing eyes. how i wanted to just scoop her up and bring her somewhere that she could experience the wonder of snow. then, and only then would she really understand and would my words make sense.
two boys whose houses are only a blocks apart sit at their desks on a random crisp-air filled day. they are to be writing away about what they experienced over their break from school. one is writing away, the other… not so much. the writing one happens to belong to me and i know all about what his words are describing. i was there when his eyes beheld the wonder of a new place traversed and his heart drank deep the joy of long days of freedom at home with no place to go.
‘experienced on my break? go somewhere? something to write? i got suspended from the boys and girls club for punching a 6 year old in the face.’ his feet shuffle and he stares at me with those angry empty eyes. my words are inadequate to describe the wonder of the big world that exists around him. he’s no reference point to comprehend it. how i longed to scoop him up and bring him somewhere where he could experience joy and wonder and freedom.
joy for the one boy and grief for the other flood my soul and i’m unable to tame it. longing for relief, i dream of something to DO. some program, some ministry, some big agenda to fix this.
Who despises the day of small things?
i discount what i’m already doing. fully aware in the ocean of need all i’ve got to offer is such a small droplet, and i despise it.
as i focus on the inadequacy of my words to describe snow, i lose sight of the fact that there is a little girl on the equator who’s heard there is something in this world called snow. as i focus on the inadequacy of my words and time to describe and reveal life, i lose sight of the fact that there is a little boy in the 4th grade who’s encountered something other, something different than the broken places, noisy screens, and chaos his world encompasses.
when i despise the day of small things, i deny the God of might and power. i forget the Spirit of the LORD Almighty, the Author of space and time* who has the capacity of full comprehension and infinite power. i expect little, instead of trusting Him to accomplish much.** i daydream of bigger impacts, new programs, ministries to the children at my neighborhood school that could accomplish so much more than my weekly hour or two of help with their math and my own boy’s friendship. i dream of making a difference, instead of giving careful thought to the reality of the difference being made by the Captain of my days.
‘Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the LORD, ‘and work.’ For I am with you,’ declares the LORD Almighty…. ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.
-haggai 2:4, zechariah 4:6
my words and work are inadequate in and of themselves. but in the hands of this LORD Almighty?
He brings forth Life
*JJ Heller from the song Fully Known **a reverse of the thought in Haggai 1:9
to draw further in: the book of Haggai and Zechariah, especially Zechariah 4 and Revelation 5. my cross references connected Zechariah 4:10 with Revelation 5:6. i don’t claim to comprehend the complexities of these chapters, but i did find them to speak to me on the smallness of a man named zerubbabel, and a people living long ago, coupled with the mighty and mysterious plan of the God of the universe.