When life gets dirty and messy…
Sometimes I’d like to question God about what he had in mind when he created the wiring in my mind. I tend to see the world in metaphors and analogies. During the Creative Memories phase of life I was known to dress the girls in the colors I wanted to use on a photo album page. “No, girls, you need to wear the pink and the yellow because we bought that adorable paper last week and it will look perfect with those outfits!” Now I live in bloggy world, and have begun to think like a 1970’s preacher who sees sermon illustrations in every moment of life. Don’t believe me? Read this post I wrote about the garbage men! Or read this one, because I’m doing it again.
I’m sitting in my condo looking out at a constantly transforming landscape. When we arrived last weekend, the streets were brown and icy, with brown snow banks lining the road. Salt crystals were crunching under our feet as we walked up the walk, and a bitter cold made it all worse. But oh…today! Today the white fluffy snow has been falling since 5 in the morning. Now I know that this isn’t good news for permanent residents. Snow plowers are working overtime, shoppers are staying home, schools are cancelled. Snow is a pain in the neck. But it completely transforms everything. Ugly barebranched trees turn into living lace. Edges are softened on every hard surface. The snow covers over the brown snowbanks, making them, well, white as snow. The street — one of the prettiest in America even at the worst of times — has turned into a Norman Rockwell painting boasting of its quaintness.
Isn’t that like God’s grace? Life is so cruddy and brown at times, but his grace transforms everything. He makes US white as snow. He softens the rough edges of our decisions, our personalities, our relationships, and makes them into lacework of stunning beauty. Look at your life through the blanket of God’s grace and see the unbelievable patterns and beauty.
But don’t stop there. Become an agent of God’s grace in your community, too. With our words and our actions we can soften the ugly edges and drape our community in grace, as well. It’s our choice. We can participate in God’s incarnational, transformational grace or we can harshly brush back the covering and reveal the ugliness beneath. The ugliness that is truly in all of us, but has been redeemed and transformed. He loves us enough to blanket us in unconditional love falling on us like white fluffy snow every day of our lives. When we step out in faith to see the imago dei — image of God — in those around us, we spread a soft blanket of snow and grace over people in desperate need of a little beauty in their lives.
This snow storm may be an inconvenience to most people, but to me it is imago dei.