The winters in Canada were cold, especially where I lived (from age 9 to 18 I lived in Calgary, Alberta). There was always snow and ice on the road and sidewalks (don’t listen to people that tell you things like “oh, Canadian cities don’t have ice on the roads because they are plowed”… rubbish! There was always a layer of hard packed snow or ice on all but the main roads. The plows just keep it from becoming a snow field). The sides of the roads always had snow banks (made by the snow plows that cleared the streets) that were often well over 6 feet high (some winters they would roar up around 12ft!). 6 feet might not seem that high to some, but we were in elementary school and our average height was probably around 4 feet tall. I remember how my friends and I used to go from door to door in our neighborhoods and ask if people wanted their walkways shoveled. We would make about $5 a walkway and a bit more if we had to do the driveway. Business was good.
The hardest part of shoveling walkways and driveways was, however, the snow banks made by the plows. In order for cars to get out of their driveways, we had to dig through the snow banks. Often the snow banks froze over and were solid ice. We usually avoided the houses that had not been shoveled for a while, because the snow had accumulated due to not regularly shoveling, and the snow banks were just too big. We called the houses that did not get their driveway shoveled regularly “cheap”, and we called the snow banks in their driveway “icebergs” (because they were huge mountains of ice!).
Often we would start snow wars. We would shovel snow at each other really fast, the rule was that you could not move your feet. The loser would be the first one to get buried in the snow. It’s actually very fun to get buried in the snow. Try it… just make sure there are enough people (whom you trust!) around you to dig you out.
But, although we had fun, sometimes we would try to tackle shoveling a “cheap” house when we wanted a challenge. The icebergs seemed impenetrable. They were just too big and strong for us to break. In those cases, we would often call upon my friend’s big brother. He would come with a large tool (sometimes a gardening pick, sometimes his beat up Chevy) and smash up what he could of the iceberg. When the iceberg was in pieces, we were able to clear it. The problem with my friend’s big brother was that he would take all the money we had at the time. If we did not have much money to offer him, he would bury us in the snow… being buried by my friend’s big brother was not fun…
It may be hard for some (most) who live down here to picture the above descriptions, but they do point to something that we all go through: Our Christian walk.
In order for us to grow as Christians, we often have to do a lot of shoveling to clear the driveway (things in our own hearts). If our driveways are not clear, we can’t go anywhere! The longer we leave the driveway of our heart unattended, the harder the driveway will be to clear. We might even get to a point where there is a large, impenetrable obstacle in our hearts (like an iceberg at the end of a Calgary driveway) that keeps us from growing, or makes us backslide.
If that’s the case, we need someone, something to come break the obstacle. Jesus can smash your iceberg. He tells us to walk by faith, and to keep our hearts filled constantly with the Spirit. He also reminds us that we are to pray without ceasing, and that we are to confess our sins to one another. If you look at the Greek (original language the New Testament is written in), you’ll see that much of the language describing the Christian life is in the “ongoing” tense. We need to keep our hearts clean.
Some of us have huge icebergs in our drive way. If that’s the case, we need to call Jesus. Jesus won’t bully you, like my friend’s big brother, but he does have the ability to smash your icebergs. And he tells us that, with faith, we can even move mountains.
Let’s make 2013 a year where mountains are crushed and moved.