Let It Snow
What Winter Says About God
Article by Christopher Asmus
Pastor, St. Paul, Minnesota
As I woke up and made my way downstairs, my mind was running through all my tasks and appointments for the day. I turned up the thermostat, started a pot of coffee, walked over to the window to pull open the blinds, and — snow. Lots of snow.
Years ago, this discovery would have been a wonderful wintery surprise. For children, snow means sledding and snow forts, and maybe, just maybe, a snow day. However, as we get older, Old Man Winter becomes a less welcomed guest. For adults, snow means shoveling sidewalks and scrapping car windows, runny noses and rescheduling appointments, and if you’re a parent of school-age children, maybe, just maybe, a snow day — the furthest thing from an “off-day.”
Yet we know our God works all things — including snowstorms — for our good (Romans 8:28). So, what good, God-glorifying purposes might God have for sending snow?
Remember Your God
As busy people, always striving for efficiency and productivity, Americans are often annoyed by snow. It slows down traffic and disrupts our schedules. And yet, when we look out the snowy morning windows and moan, when we take to social media to complain about the weather, when we grumble as we scrape the ice off our car window, what are we believing about snow? What are we believing about God?
“God works all things — including snowstorms — for our good.”TweetShare on Facebook
Often we’re not really thinking about him at all. When it snows, some Christians become functional deists. Deists believe God created all things (like weather) and then stepped back to passively let creation (like snowstorms) run its natural course. In other words, we see snow as an interruptive act of nature, not an intentional act of God, and so we grumble.
But believer, his fingerprints are on every flake.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding. (Psalm 148:7–8 NIV)
Snow is purposed by God to glorify him and “do his bidding.” Snow has a Sender (Job 37:6), frost has a Scatter-er (Psalm 147:16), and God uses both to showcase his supremacy (Job 38:22).
When we think of God’s glory in nature, we often have in mind a fresh spring forest buzzing with birds and bugs, or a white-sand beach bordering an endless expanse of ocean blue, or a quiet lake cooling as the summer sun takes its sweet time to set. But God’s glory is on display as much in the cold winter snow as it is in the warm summer sun (Psalm 74:17).
Therefore, when it snows, let’s not act as if God is uninvolved. Don’t grumble and groan like a deist. Every flake is sent by God to show his splendor in snow, his beauty in the blizzard. God has assigned to snow life-giving purpose for God-centered praise (Isaiah 55:10). When it snows, remember your God.
Rejoice in the Gospel
After David had fallen into grave sin, he repented and asked God to wash him and make him “whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7). Part of snow’s ultimate purpose is to visibly remind you that your sin has been covered by winter-white grace through Jesus’s blood-red cross.
Though your sins are like scarlet,
they will be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool. (Isaiah 1:18)
When we walk outside and see our world covered by fresh powder, we should say, “Just like my sin; no darkness remains” (1 John 1:7). When we see banks of snow piling up, we should say, “Just like his grace — abundant and heaping over” (John 1:16) When we look outside and see only winter white, we should say, “Preach, snow! My sins are washed that white through Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
And, not only does snow preach the purifying power of the cross; it also points to Christ Jesus himself. That is, snow is a shadow glory of Christ.
When Daniel saw the Ancient of Days, he noted that his clothing was white as snow (Daniel 7:9). When the disciples saw Jesus at the transfiguration, they were struck by his radiant, dazzling brightness (Mark 9:3). And when John saw Jesus in a vision, he later remembered, “The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow” (Revelation 1:14).
“Part of snow’s ultimate purpose is to visibly remind you that your sin has been covered by winter-white grace.”TweetShare on Facebook
On the few occasions we get to look behind the curtain and catch a glimpse of the glorified Christ, it’s striking how often snow is used to describe him. Apparently, snow is sovereignly sent by God to give us a category that we will use when we are reaching for words to describe Christ’s glory.
Christian, next time you awake to a blanket, bleach-white morning, let the snow preach the gospel and point to Christ.
Rest in His Good Gifts
Another precious purpose God has for snow is to sovereignly slow us down, in the midst of our busy schedules and regular tasks, so we can simply rest in his good gifts. Especially in the case of a snow day, when school, work, and other events are canceled, God uses the accumulation of snow to help us enjoy the accumulation of grace that has buried us beneath.
The one who sends the snow, and the one the snow preaches of and points to, is a generous giver (James 1:5, 17). And he wants us to enjoy the many good gifts he has surrounded us with (1 Timothy 4:4). When it snows, God is giving us a precious opportunity to dive into those gifts to enjoy and exalt him.
Christopher Asmus is lead pastor at Vertical Church St. Paul, a new church plant in St. Paul, MN. Christopher and his wife, Alexandria, are happy parents to their two sons, Haddon and McRae.