Spiritual Snowflakes or Spiritual Snow Forts?
You see this ugly pile of snow? I took a picture of it last month because I was so astonished that it existed. We’d had a great snow the week before, but it had been gone for a week, and the day before I took this picture, the temp was in the 60’s. And yet, here it stands, still intact, still frozen.
The reason this struck me as remarkable was because it showed the power of sticking together. That snow should not have survived the general thaw and then the high temperatures. But because it had been packed together, it had the ability to withstand pressure that should have annihilated it.
So this is like us, God’s people. We were not designed to be spiritual loners. We were designed to be interconnected. I Corinthians 12:12 explains: “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” And extrapolates on this further in v. 21: “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’” Body parts cannot survive if they are disconnected from the body.
Galatians 6:2 tells us to “Carry each other’s burdens.” This is possible when people are living in community, when we are close enough to know what burdens others are carrying. This is one example of the many verses that reference living in community.
Living the Christian life, staying faithful to God, growing in the Spirit – these are hard things. We need the support and presence of our spiritual family to keep going. At different times, we will undergo pressures that should annihilate us. But if we stick together, we will have an unnatural, unhuman ability to survive.
This is not to say that we can’t stay close to God on our own. There are some remarkable individuals who remain faithful to God in isolation – Christians imprisoned for their faith or sent to remote gulags – but I believe God gives them a special fellowship with the Holy Spirit because of their forced solitude. I just read about one inspiring Christian martyr persecuted for protesting Mao’s inhumane policies in 20th century China. While she was imprisoned, Lin Zhao was denied any writing instruments so she began writing in her own blood. She would prick herself with a sharpened bamboo and dip a straw stem into the blood and write on her paper or her own clothing or sheets. No one saw these writings for decades, but because her guards saved them as “evidence” against her, they have now been published. She told her mother she found deep comfort in her relationship with the Holy Spirit.
So even though Satan tried to force Lin to be alone, God gave her the “community” of the Trinity. We have the great blessing of experiencing that community with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let’s pack together and withstand the forces that want to annihilate us.