I enjoy walking to work in the morning while it is still dark and quiet. There is something energizing about hearing the crunch of the crisp snow under my feet. It reminds me of my days working in the dining hall at college. Because I was the dining hall manager for breakfast, I had to get up early and make the trek from my dorm to the dining hall before most others were awake. During the winter, I would be the first one to leave my tracks in the new fallen snow. For some reason, that was exciting to me, as if I was breaking some new trail in the wilderness.
As I have walked to work on these cold, crisp mornings, I have discovered that I am not the first to make tracks in the snow. There are others who have forged through the drifts before me. Their tracks are very different from mine. There are the split, oval tracks of the deer. These illusive creatures routinely make their way through our neighborhood, yet I have rarely seen them. One night driving home from church, my headlights captured a lone deer crossing the street and heading for the cover of the trees.
I routinely encounter another set of tracks, much different from the deer. They look like thin fingers pressed into the snow. They belong to a relatively less elusive creature; the wild turkeys that inhabit the fringe along the river. Unlike the deer, they are bold and travel in groups. But in the early morning, when the air is frigid, they are tucked away in some sheltered place. The only evidence of their presence is the multitude of footprints left behind from their daily parade.
There is another set of tracks left in the snow that is harder to see, yet just as real. They are the tracks of the creator. If you have the spiritual awareness to look closely, you can see the telltale tracks of the Master. You can see them in the clear, dark morning sky as the stars and planets penetrate the darkness with their light. You can see them in the crystalline structure of the snow under foot and the crisp bite of the cold air. You can see them reflected in the unique footprints of the creatures God has created to inhabit our amazing planet.
King David marveled at the tracks of God in our world.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
The Apostle Paul declared that the tracks of God are evident for all to see, if they would but open their eyes and look. 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 men are without excuse. Romans 1:20
I have been enjoying reading “The Singing Wilderness” by Sigurd Olson. It reminds me of how much I like the outdoors; the rare, unspoiled havens of wilderness that are still available to us. Living in our man-made cities and towns, we lose sight of just how amazing this world really is. Our towns and cities may be full of activity, but they are sterile and static. At first glance the wilderness looks empty, but it is full of dynamic life and energy. God has given us tracks in the snow to awaken us to His presence. Like the deer that silently slip through our neighborhood, He invades our man-made world, leaving tangible evidence that He is still actively involved in the world He created.
There is only one way I can see the tracks in the snow. I have to slow down and pay attention. I could drive to work in the morning. It would be faster and warmer, but much less interesting. If we want to see God’s tracks in the snow, we need to slow down and pay attention. We need to take the time to hit the pause button and marvel at the amazing world all around us and the amazing God who brought it into being.