A Winter Train of Thought – Revisited

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!  And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.  For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

  • Luke 12:22-31

I had someone view this old post recently.  I had forgotten my “winter train of thought.”  With the winter storms that we have had lately, I thought it might take traction again, but they may have to heat the tracks.

As you read this, the Alberta Clipper will have already blown through, at least the first wave.  It may have brought destruction.  People may have been injured in accidents.  There may have been property damage.  This post does not minimize the negative aspects of a snow storm, and my prayers are with those who suffer.

But as I sit here anticipating the snow, I was thinking of the above scripture from Luke.  When you don’t have to go out, the winter snow is beautiful.  I’m retired.  If there is a lot of snow on the roads, we will stay home.  We have bread and milk…

Okay, if you hear any jokes about people in our area seeing a single snow and flying into a panic, it’s not a joke.  Once, I had to go by the pharmacy on the way home.  At the time, we used a pharmacy at the local grocery store.  As I drove home, a few flakes were falling, nothing had stuck, not enough to call it a flurry.  I walked up to the pharmacy window and found it hard to maneuver up the aisle.  The stock boys had simply placed pallets of milk in the middle of the aisle.  It was going so quickly, they didn’t have time to place it in the refrigerated cooler.  As the pharmacist was checking me out, I was struck by people.  They weren’t hitting me.  They were falling backward after being hit.  Yes, they were fighting over milk.  When I got my medicine, I walked around the corner and similar fights had broken out over pallets of bread.  You have to understand this small grocery store.  With a pallet in the aisle, there wasn’t room to push a cart on either side.  I had thought of getting some other things, but I decided to drive home and do light grocery shopping another day.  On the way home, the roads were totally dry.  In fact, the only snow on the ground the following morning was a little on the grass.  I didn’t have to shovel the sidewalk.  There was panic, and fist fights over nothing.

I’ll admit.  This is the only time that I have witnessed fighting in the past twenty years, but I look at the grocery parking lot when it snows, or when snow is predicted overnight.  People are honking.  People are cussing and giving vile gestures.  In my silent prayer, I have thought, “How many were at the store yesterday for their regular shopping and they got bread and milk?”

People don’t think about God’s promise in Luke 12.  We are commanded to not worry.  God will take care of you.

Then I thought further about the snowflake.  Why did God make every snowflake different?  What is the purpose of that?  A difference in everyone’s fingerprints has led to improvements in getting justice in some criminal cases, but that may not have been God’s reason for making fingerprints different.  God makes a lot of things unique, intricate, and beautiful.  Why?  God created all things and called them ‘good.’  But He didn’t just stop with good; there is also great beauty and diversity in the world.

My train of thought then moved to frost.  Snow, frost, these are wintery things.  I recently had to scrape the frost off the windshield.  I didn’t want to do it.  The frost had created such a beautiful spangle pattern.  I am no meteorologist, but it is probably due to the combination of humidity levels, temperature change, and other factors whether you just get a solid layer of frost or you get spangles.  We don’t get spangle pattern frosts that often anymore.  When you don’t see them that often, you want to cherish them when they come.  Alas, we had to go somewhere, an appointment, a time schedule.

That got me to thinking about galvanizing spangle patterns.

Remember when your favorite canned vegetable was opened and the inside of the can looked kind of brassy and had a spangle pattern, just like frost on the window?  You don’t see that much anymore.  I know a little about this one.  Zinc is expensive.  So, the metal for the cans is usually galvanized with a zinc-aluminum alloy.  It’s a little cheaper.  It resists rust a little less, but not bad enough to harm the food.  But it results in a dull gray even finish.  No spangle.  There are still cans with the old spangle pattern inside, but they are rare.

Then I remembered the reason for galvanizing something in the first place.  To understand how galvanizing works to protect against rust formation, it would take a chemistry lesson.  But the simple answer to the question is that when oxygen approaches a scratch in a galvanized surface, the oxygen would rather attack the zinc, or even aluminum, before it would attack the iron.  You see, the zinc covers the surface, but if that layer is damaged, the zinc sacrifices itself so that the iron can remain unchanged, strong, and clean.

That naturally caused me to think of my Savior.  Jesus did not have to protect me.  Jesus could have lived and then ascended back into heaven, but He chose to do His Father’s will and die on the cross so that we might live.

Okay, let us look at our train.

The Engine: An approaching Alberta Clipper, with a potential Manitoba Mauler behind.

The first car: We are prepared and ready to sit it out.

The second car: People are crazy around here, because they don’t trust God and they have an insane desire for more bread and milk.  Oh, some people add batteries to the shopping list, too.

The third car: Snowflakes are individually different, according to the experts.  Why?  I don’t think I’ve ever heard a sermon about our God, the God of Beauty.  Or our God, the God of Whimsy.  For what other reason are snowflakes, fingerprints, and other things unique?

The fourth car: I miss frost in a spangle pattern.

The fifth car:  I miss galvanizing that results in a spangle pattern.

The sixth car: Galvanizing is sacrificial protection.  Once you have a scratch, the galvanizing material will sacrifice itself for the good of the metal surface.

The caboose:  We are scratched by the sin in our lives and Jesus provided the sacrifice.  Jesus died so that we can live.  But Jesus rose again.

My winter train of thought is complete.  I’m not worried.  Let it snow.

We may need to get more bread, but I am not worried, not even four years later.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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