Into the Depths of the Sea

Perhaps you’ve been to Cape Spear, Newfoundland. There, a simple path leads from a parking lot to a small fence barring your way. This is the end of North America, for beyond it lies the Atlantic Ocean. There is no point of land any farther east than this spot, and for that reason the place is inspiring. For a few moments everybody on the continent is behind you. In fact, you can look directly east and you see nothing but water for 3,000 km; your next port of call would be Galway, Ireland.

The immensity of the ocean is astonishing. One airline has advertised a flight from Saint John’s, NF to Dublin in 4.5 hours, and that’s traveling at 550 mph! For hours you sit looking out that little round window and see nothing but water in all directions. From up there, huge ships look like pieces of floating rice. The average depth of this ocean is almost 11,000 feet – roughly 2 miles. It’s no wonder the remains of shipwrecks are so hard to find. It took over 70 years to locate the Titanic.

Ancient Jewish people were not known as sailors; they made their living off the land. The sea was a fearsome thing, a place into which one could disappear forever. When Jonah wanted to disappear, he chose to flee in a ship. In 700 BC the prophet Micah wrote the following about God: “He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, you will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19). Micah was struck with the capacity of God to forgive. Today, when someone repents and obeys the gospel of Christ, it’s as if their sins were picked up and thrown into the middle of the ocean where they will disappear forever. Praise God for his forgiveness.

– Tim Johnson

The Good Thing About Snow

Snowy sceneAfter two weeks of green grass and bare sidewalks, snow blew back into Barrie Thursday morning. My next-door neighbour shouted, “I hate this!” Despite all the grumbling and complaining from those who shovel it and drive through it, let me point out something good about snow.

Isaiah said to his fellow citizens, “Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow” (Is.1:18). Their nation was horribly corrupt and soon to be invaded and judged. But God would forgive them if they would only repent. Sin-stained hearts could be white as snow.

The colour of snow is certainly dazzling. When the sun shines on it we want to protect our eyes. Skiers wear sun block and heavily-tinted goggles. A dull world suddenly gleams. The browns and grays of late fall suddenly turn to bright white. Snow also has the ability to cover up the ugliest messes. The worst-looking yard in your neighbourhood suddenly looks fresh and clean after a decent snowfall. All that junk seems to disappear.

God knew what He was doing when he used the imagery of snow to describe His ability to forgive a sinful life and create something brand new all over again. All the decaying rot of a sin-infested life can be forgotten, as if buried under bright snow. Everything is transformed. God does that for us through Jesus Christ.

The next time you have to deal with great drifts of snow, remember that it’s a picture of what God has done for you. “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow.”

– Tim Johnson