I took my dog outside this morning in the first snow of the season. It wasn’t very deep, barely two inches, but it covered the grass and made everything look beautiful and fresh. Yet I quickly learned that looks can be deceiving.
At first, Wesley romped with delight. He jumped into the snow and like a rabbit or kangaroo, leaped straight up again. He dug his little nose into the snow and tried eating it. He seemed to be having a wonderful time, and I thought I would write this blog about the wonder of God’s creation. But then, he began to slow down, and a little ways further, he started to whimper. He picked up one leg and limped along on three legs, and then began to shiver all over. I realized his fun romp in the snow had soaked through his toy poodle coat and left him freezing. What had started out as great fun was now not only not fun, it was threatening to him as the cold seeped in.
I picked Wesley up and we walked home together, with him trembling in my arms the whole way. When I tried putting him down, he held up his one leg and hobbled on the other three, so I ended up carrying him all the way home. Once there, I wrapped him in a thick towel and rubbed him down, holding each paw in a warm grasp until he jumped out of my lap happy to be warm and dry.
It occurred to me that all too often sin enters our life in the same way. When it first appears, it may look like lots of fun. I’m reminded of the song from The Fantasticks where the young man is lured away by bright lights that are “shining brightly.” But the narrator reminds us, “Those lights not only glitter but once there, they burn.” One silly little joke that targets a racial group, one little drink for an alcoholic, one little lie to a friend so that we can go somewhere without them, one rearranging the numbers at work just this once so the boss won’t be mad – they can feel good or make our life seem easier, but the truth is that “once there, they burn.” One can turn into many or the web of deceit grow impossibly complex. Our life can end up spinning out of control leaving us hobbling along.
So as you look out at the snow covered ground today, remember that what seems beautiful and fun can also prove threatening and harmful. God has shown us the way, not to riches and prestige, but to a life that is truly good and abundant.
Prayer: Loving God, from the beginning of creation you laid out for humanity how we could live and enjoy the fullness of your presence and the blessings of your love. Sometimes we see other ways of living and think they look better. Help me, Lord, to trust in you, to follow the path you have laid out before me. Let me know the warmth of your love and the joy of your abundant life today and every day. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.