There are few things that equal cross-country skiing for pure silent graceful enjoyment.
It is grace and it is purity on a blanket of white.
It is a time of balancing and gliding across a crystalline carpet.
It is poetry without word or rhyme.
It is inspiration mingled with perspiration. It is as intoxicating as it is sobering. Skiing cross-country is a library of never read books and a concert hall of unheard symphonies. It is always new even if the same trail is taken.
It is a glide of grace giving that which cannot be earned…yielding that which is not deserved.
While skiing today across my neighbor’s field, I contemplated and mused the lessons to be learned in this simple silent sport. I was skiing where there was no groomed trail. This meant that the forward movement of the skis required considerable effort. Every forward movement becomes a forced issue.
Snow is like that. It is slick and slippery but it can be stubborn and unyielding.
Then it occurred to me that if I had been skiing with another person one of us could have taken advantage of the lead person’s ski tracks. We could take turns being in the lead. You always get a better kick and glide if you are on a groomed trail. This is true even if the grooming is a result of someone else having gone just ahead of you. But I was alone. The path I skied was that of my own making. Not much grace here.
Herein is my lesson #1. Those who take the path ahead of us often make the going for those behind them easier. Where the path-maker grimaces, we get to glide. There’s stuff in the Bible about that. Stuff about Jesus and His being the Way and Truth and Life and being the only path to the Father. He paved the way. He left tracks in the snow. Because of the path He chose, we can benefit from the glide of grace. It was a way we could not have gone by ourselves or on our own.
Lesson #2. During the course of my little excursion, I retraced my own tracks back the way I had come. It was a dream. Kick and glide all the way. My own tracks had packed the snow into compressed ruts over which each ski could now slide more freely. I could kick with one ski and glide with the other.
It was heavenly and I realized I was the recipient of my own grace. The only drawback….I was gliding…but only back the way I had come. I was simply retracing my own tracks. The lesson here….only the grace of Jesus can take us to new places.
Don’t think too long over this analogy. It won’t hold up. But the Bible will. The words of Hebrews 12 have held up nicely through the years….
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Heb. 12:2-3