Seeing the unseen

The other morning it snowed.  Not the “white Christmas” full-ground cover kind or the snowman-building kind.  Just a light dusting.  Like powdered sugar sprinkled on top of cookies.  Within an hour or two of falling, it had melted.

It wasn’t much to look.  In fact, it sort of highlighted the ugliness of the winter ground — brown, dead, and scattered with old, damp leaves still lingering from the fall.

At first glance, beauty was absent.

But.  Have you ever seen a snowflake?

I don’t mean have you ever watched snowflakes fall from the sky.  I mean, have you ever seen an individual snowflake?  Up close?

We recently checked out a book from the library called Snow Crystals by William A. Bentley.  The book is simply a collection of snowflake photographs.  Sound a little boring?  It isn’t.

Every single snowflake is an astonishing work of art.  Some look like crystal pansies with thick, decorated petals.  Others look like detailed, silvery metalwork you might find adorning a gothic cathedral.  Every one of them is unique.  Intricate.  Breathtaking.

These snowflakes —  that flutter softly and melt on the asphalt in the blink of an eye, or that fall in sheets and droves, piling quickly into thick blankets, billions at a time probably — each one is a masterpiece, designed by a Divine Snowflake Maker.  We just can’t see it.

Not without help, anyway.  (In this case, the help of a camera with specialized optical zoom capabilities.)

Life can be like this sometimes.  We look around us and see trials and difficulties.  We see the ugliness of sin and death – physical and spiritual.  Life may seem plain and meaningless.  But what if we could get a glimpse of the unseen?

The snowflake reminds me of 2 Corinthians 4:18:

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (NIV)

How do we fix our eyes on things that are unseen?  Well, in ourselves, we can’t.  Our human sight is limited.  But, with help from the living and abiding Word of God, we can:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls— 1 Peter 1:3-9

The result of living a faithful life to God, despite the difficulties, is the salvation of our souls.  Resurrection from the dead.  An imperishable inheritance in Heaven with the God we love.  Forever.

We can’t see it now.  But, with God’s help, we can.


Header photo credit:  Aaron Burden via Unsplash

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