December 30, 2019
Wilson grew up on a farm in Jericho, Vermont, and as a young boy he developed a fascination with snowflakes. Obsession might be a better word for it. Most people go indoors during snowstorms. Not Wilson. He would run outside when the flakes started falling, catch them on black velvet, look at them under a microscope, and take photographs of them before they melted. His first photomicrograph of a snowflake was taken on January 15, 1885.
Under the microscope, He found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated. When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind.
The first known photographer of snowflakes, Wilson pursued his passion for more than fifty years. He amassed a collection of 5,381 photographs that was published in his magnum opus, titled Snow Crystals. And then he died a fitting death—a death that symbolized and epitomized his life. Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley contracted pneumonia while walking six miles through a severe snowstorm and died on December 23, 1931.
And that is how I figured out how I want to die. No, I don’t want to die from pneumonia. But I do want to die doing what I love. I am determined to pursue God-ordained passions until the day I die. Life is too precious to settle for anything less. I’m not convinced that your date of death is the date carved on your tombstone. Most people die long before that. We start dying when we have nothing worth living for. And we don’t really start living until we find something worth dying for. Ironically, discovering something worth dying for is what makes life worth living.
Maybe that explains why Jesus was so full of life. He had so much—or rather so many—to die for. No one was more passionate about life than Jesus. In fact, the final chapter of His life is appropriately referred to as the Passion. And we are called to follow in His footsteps. Christ followers ought to be the most passionate people on the planet. Pursuing God-ordained passions isn’t optional. It is an essential part of chasing the Wild Goose. And the adventure begins the moment we start pursuing a God-ordained passion.
Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. NCC also owns and operates Ebenezers Coffeehouse, The Miracle Theatre, and the DC Dream Center. Mark holds a doctor of ministry degree from Regent University and is the New York Times bestselling author of 17 books, including The Circle Maker, Chase the Lion, and Whisper. Mark and his wife, Lora, have three children and live on Capitol Hill.
Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit–An Geadh-Glas, or ‘the Wild Goose.’ The name hints at mystery. Much like a wild goose, the Spirit of God cannot be tracked or tamed. An element of danger, an air of unpredictability surround Him. And while the name may sound a little sacrilegious, I cannot think of a better description of what it’s like to follow the Spirit through life.
Find out more about Mark Batterson's book, Wild Goose Chase now.