Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Joy and Tragedy

It snowed, and snowed, and snowed.  Over the course of two days just about a metre of new snow fell on the slopes.  A metre of beautiful, light, fluffy, powder snow.  After weeks of mainly sunny skies and hard packed surface, the entire mountain was a powder skiers dream.  My first run was down under one of the chairlifts, the beautiful, light snow at times billowing over my head as I linked turn after turn down the slope.  Paradise; a huge smile across my face as I danced down the mountain, half submerged in the newly fallen snow.  Pure joy.

On mountain ranges all across the province snow fell.  At Manning Park, where we ski, a sign was posted at the bottom of the chairlifts warning of the extreme avalanche danger.  We were warned us to stay within the ski area boundaries where it was safe.  Avalanche warning bulletins were broadcast on television and radio so everyone would know to stay out of the back country until conditions stabilized.  Looking at higher peaks I could see the many new avalanches which had fallen.  Yet on this weekend, one of high danger, many people ignored the warnings and set out into the back country.  In their minds they knew that nothing would happen to them.  But it did.  In one avalanche alone, a group of 200 snowmobilers were hit by an avalanche.  Thirty were buried, two died.  They were warned, but they knew nothing would happen to them.  The fun was worth the risk.  The fun cost two of them their lives.

There is another warning which most people ignore.  The Bible warns us that every, single human being is in danger.  Every one of us will face God’s judgement of our sin.  The warning is clear.  It is repeated often in that wonderful book.  We are told there is only one way to escape the danger and that is to admit to God that we have done wrong, to ask Him to forgive us and to accept Jesus into our life, receiving the sacrifice of himself which Jesus made on our behalf.  The warning is clear, the way of escape is clear, yet most people choose to ignore it.  And not only do they ignore the warning, they miss the incredible joy of knowing Jesus.

Why do we ignore such clear warnings?  Why do we pretend all is okay and nothing will happen to us?  The death of snowmobilers who ignored a warning is tragic.  How much more tragic the eternal destiny of those who ignore God’s warning of judgement to come.

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