Like many Minnesotans, I have spent time shoveling snow the past three days. Saturday’s blizzard left some deep drifts in front of my garage door that only a shovel could reach. I was out twice Saturday during the storm and early Sunday morning to be sure that I could make it to Resurrection on time. Each time I started to shovel, I thought, “This will take forever, my tiny shovel against all this snow!’ Yet each time, with perseverance and patience, I made my way down the driveway to the street.
The spiritual analogy for me is that following Jesus can seem like a daunting, overwhelming task, like shoveling snow in a blizzard. We often think our faith needs to come from some dramatic change that radically transforms our life in a moment. And there certainly can be dramatic moments when Jesus comes suddenly alive. We read about such moments in the Bible; Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus is an example (Acts 9).
But that is only a portion of our faith. Jesus compares our faith to a tiny mustard seed that slowly, steadily becomes a great tree (Luke 13). Or the book of Hebrews describes trust as a runner who perseveres in day after day training in order to win the race (Hebrew 12). Like shoveling out a driveway, each prayer, Bible study, journal reflection, spiritual discipline helps clear the path of trust in God. Such work builds patience, a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It also keeps us mindful of God’s ever-present grace and love that surround us.
Of course, I rejoice that I did not need to shovel all the way to Resurrection Lutheran. There are limits to any analogy!