The last blog I wrote focused on the hidden things of God. Though the blog was full of examples, I was only able to cover the tip of the iceberg. Icebergs, by the way, are mostly hidden also! Up to 90% of the iceberg can be hidden under the water! If only the people aboard Titanic knew this!
Today I want to focus on something you may not think much about. It isn’t something I think about much because I live in Florida. The topic came to me in a fascinating, yet subtle way. This is often how the Holy Spirit works. The spirit nudges us or kind of “pats us on the shoulder”. The spirit draws our attention to the miracles of God. This is what happened to me recently.
The topic the spirit placed on my heart is SNOWFLAKES! As I said above, being that I live in Florida, it was an odd topic to me.
One day back in December I happened to put on my snowflake earrings. I pulled them out of my holiday jewelry collection. For the next week or so I kept putting on those same earrings. For most people maybe its normal to wear the same earrings many days in a row. Not for me! I change up my jewelry every day because I have a zillion pieces of what I call costume jewelry. It’s rare for me to keep wearing the same piece of jewelry day after day. Well, for some reason I just really wanted to wear those snowflake earrings over and over and over.
One day I went to an event at a nearby school where I was volunteering as a pen pal. We were meeting our pen pals that day and having a Christmas breakfast with the teachers and students. At some point it came time to read a story to all the pen pals. The volunteer reader pulled out a book called Snowflake Bentley. I had never seen or heard the story before, so I listened closely as it was read to everyone in the room. I was intrigued with the information I heard as the book was read. As I listened I immediately thought of the snowflake earrings I was wearing and had been wearing for over a week.
After the school event I immediately set out to get my own Snowflake Bentley book. As I read through it, I became fascinated by the amazing things I learned about snowflakes. First of all, as you may have heard, no two snowflakes are alike! This is mind boggling when you consider how many snowflakes fall year after year, decade after decade, century after century and so on. How could they all be different?
The second thing that struck me is the intricate designs of the snowflake. A snowflake itself can measure as small as the width of a human hair, yet the designs of that snowflake are as detailed as an artist’s painting, or an architect’s building. When one initially looks at a piece of snow or snowflake, the design is not readily apparent. It is hidden to our eyes. The intricate beauty of the snowflake can only be seen with a special camera, or microscope.
Wilson Bentley (the man Snowflake Bentley is about) was an ordinary guy who was born in 1865. He became fascinated with snow at an early age. He captured snowflakes on pieces of black velvet. He could see pieces of the delicate patterns of snowflakes, but soon realized how quick the snowflakes would melt away before his very eyes. These hidden treasures were fleeting masterpieces of beauty. But, he knew there was still more to be seen in these mysterious snowflakes. He devoted his life to revealing the hidden beauty within the snow.
Many people thought Bentley was crazy. He captured snowflakes for hours and hours, determined to reveal their mysteries in a tangible way. He would catch the snowflakes on velvet and attempt to draw their detailed patterns before they melted away. This proved to be a difficult, almost impossible task.
Luckily, Bentley’s parents saw how much he wanted to draw and document these hidden miracles of nature. They bought him a very expensive camera (for their time), which used up much of their income. This camera could magnify a tiny snow crystal 3600 times its actual size! Bentley was overjoyed and from that point on he devoted his time to photographing and documenting snowflakes.
After many years of taking photos and documentation, Bentley was finally ready to publish his book on snowflakes. The book is called SNOW CRYSTALS. Believe it or not, he was sixty -six by the time his book was published! When this book was revealed to the world, people soon realized how miraculous snowflakes really were. Before Bentley, no one had fully documented and captured the hidden beauty of snowflakes. What looked like a white piece of snow actually contained a masterpiece of design.
When I looked at the pictures of those snowflakes up close, my mind immediately thought of God. There is no possible way these beautiful miracles of nature could just “happen”. Their designs are mathematical and perfectly symmetrical. Snowflakes contain perfectly formed branches in groups of six. Amazingly enough, a snowflake starts as a little speck of water. Molecules of water attach to a tiny speck of this water and then branches are formed. As the snow crystal grows, small bits of air get trapped. The branches eventually come together, along with this trapped air. The snowflake’s shape varies based on the smallest fluctuation in temperature, wind speed and the amount of water they contain. Each one is individually formed as if someone’s hand sculpted them out of water and ice. Whose hand? God’s hand!
Why do you think God placed such creative, perfect, intricate designs in such a tiny piece of snow? Why did he hide this design within these tiny branched miracles?
Well, I prayed about this for a long while and this is what the Holy Spirit placed on my heart. Firstly, I realized that human beings are similar to snowflakes. God formed each and every one of us with a unique design. No two humans are alike. Think about that for a moment. In the history of the world…………trillions and trillions of people who have been born over time…..not one of us is exactly alike! How on earth can some people say the earth was formed by chance? How can they say evolution created something as sophisticated as humans or snowflakes????
Psalm 139: 13-17 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together from the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
That passage clearly says that God forms each and every one of us. He designs us individually! When it says we are FEARFULLY made it actually means we were made to cause astonishment and awe. We were made to inspire reverence for God (blue letter bible- Strong’s concordance H3372). In the original Hebrew language it means we were made fearfully to cause the world to respect and revere God.
God’s created beings and animals/nature itself to show us that he is the architect and designer. Who else could place a tiny computer in our cells? Who else could design our brains to be complex machines of reasoning, emotions, and intellect?
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
God is not visible to the naked eye. He is hidden in that way. But, his creation is not hidden. The intelligent and miraculous design of the physical world is not hidden -especially in this day and age. With the advent of the microscope, specialized cameras, magnification devices and computers, we are seeing more and more of things that were once hidden. We thought what we could see with our own eyes is miraculous! Once we see the anatomy of a cell, or the design of a snowflake, we are forced to see God face to face. How this simple fact can be denied by some leaves me baffled.
It’s interesting that the intricate beauty and design of snowflakes couldn’t be seen until one man took it upon himself to devote his life to studying and photographing them. He even spent most of his own money on his research and pictures. He did not die a rich man. By 1926 he had spent $15,000.00 of his own money but only received $4,000.00 in return. This 4,000.00 came from the sale of his slides and photographs. By the time his book was published he was 66 years old! Sadly, he died less than a month after his book was published. He became ill after walking six miles home -in a blizzard of all things. But, I guess you could say he died doing what he loved. I find it intriguing that snowflakes have a hexagonal shape (6 branches) and Wilson Bentley died at age 66, after walking 6 miles in the snow!
Speaking of the number 6, in the Bible, the number six points to man. Man was created on the sixth day and in Revelation it says the number of man is 666. Jesus came to earth to reconcile man to God. He came to earth so we could KNOW THE TRUE NATURE OF GOD. For a long time the nature of God had been hidden. Like the snowflake, only certain attributes could be seen. So much remained a mystery. But, Jesus came to earth and gave us all the opportunity to receive the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, everything is hidden to us. We only see the surface level without the Holy Spirit. Some of those things may still be beautiful, but the beauty will pale in comparison to what the spirit will reveal. It’s like comparing the beauty of earth to heaven. There really is no comparison. Heaven is the winner hands down!
We receive the Holy Spirit from Jesus and from that point the real fun begins. Like Wilson Bentley, we now can jump right in and “research” the ways of Jesus. Sometimes we have to do a lot of digging and praying. We know God himself has said he is a mystery, but he also says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Another translation says, “Call to me and I will answer you and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3.
The mysteries of the snowflake became known through effort, time, endurance, and a lot of hard work. It is the same way with Jesus. He requires us to do a little work- to put in the time- to endure- and to make the effort.
Once we do this a whole world begins to open up for us. Our lives become a little more clear and less hidden.
God continues to work in hidden ways each day of our lives. He works in hidden ways around the world. We may not always understand exactly what he’s doing. But be assured that he is working. He will let us be part of that hidden work. The Holy Spirit beckons us to be part of his plans. There is a great plan in the works for the United States, Israel and the world. Sometimes its hard to see how we fit into this big picture of hidden plans. But, all we have to do is dig our heels in. We’ve gotta weather some snowstorms. We have to press forward until the race is finished. I am positive God has a job for you in his grand plan. He has a place and purpose for the United States as a nation, and certainly for the nation of Israel.
Wilson Bentley never gave up studying snowflakes. He worked through years of snowstorms to get just the right photos. People around him couldn’t understand why because they said, “Snow is as common as dirt.” Well, when Jesus came to earth many thought he was as common as they come. He may have looked that way on the outside. But those who dug deep and got to know the Savior realized he was much more than a common man. Bentley once said, “Not everyone can see the great beauty hidden in a tiny crystal.” The truth is, not everyone can see the beauty hidden in Jesus. Why? Because you have to take the time to KNOW him.
Snowflakes are miracles made of water that branch out into perfect designs . The living water is Jesus himself. He is also called the branch.
“Behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.” Zechariah 3:8
“Behold, the man whose name is the BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord.” Zechariah 6:12
Jesus said in John 7:37, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.” He also said in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth in me shall never thirst.”
Jesus can be seen in all living and non living things. He doesn’t have to be hidden if we seek him.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
Wilson Bentley knew what it meant to seek something with all his heart. Imagine if we would seek the Savior with that level of intensity. We would find something even greater than the snowflake. We would find the CREATOR of the snowflake.
Speaking of miracles, today- January 15, 2019, is the anniversary of the Miracle on the Hudson. On this day ten years ago Chesley Sullenberger (also known as “Sully”) successfully landed a plane into the Hudson River. All 155 people on board survived. When you read the story of this amazing event it’s easy to see the hand of God moving. God seems so hidden- high up in heaven- yet, he is right here- his invisible hand always guiding and protecting. Here’s a link that will recap this awesome story.