I learned a new word late last week and since then, I have heard it more times than I can recount. And what makes this even more unusual, I never heard the word before this week – and I mean in my whole life! Yes, the word is the title of this post, and I wonder how many of you know what it means – without running to the dictionary or looking it up online. I will admit, I had no idea what it was, but in the context I was listening to, it had something to do with weather. I later went and did the research.
I found out that graupel is something between snow and hail. In fact, they are really small particles of snow that are enveloped in a thin crust of ice – sometimes, they are referred to as “soft hail”. So they aren’t really snow and aren’t really hail – they are something in between – something of an anomaly. So how is it different from sleet? Well, sleet is small particles of snow interspersed with freezing rain, which results in a thin coating of ice that covers cold surfaces that the sleet comes in contact with – such as the ground, branches on trees, etc.
While we are at it, I might as well describe hail as well. Hail is made up of successive layers of frozen rain, resulting in potentially destructive ice balls that can be extremely hard. Sometimes, these ice “balls” fuse together and other times, they are small enough that they are singular in nature. Hail comes from a specific kind of cloud and is more prevalent in thunderstorms than in really cold weather. Hail is the most destructive of the kinds of precipitation I have talked about here.
So although this isn’t meant to be a lesson in weather conditions, I did find it interesting that we had graupel falling on the ground earlier this week. In fact, it kind of seems like a new word to me as my spell check doesn’t recognize it and doesn’t have any recommendations for alternate spellings. So what’s this have to do with anything theological?
Plenty – because graupel is something between two extremes that we can recognize – it’s in the middle – not one and not the other. It seems to me that this can describe the way that some of us handle our faith. Yes, we might believe in Jesus, but we don’t live out our lives in a way consistent with the belief system that we profess. We are selective in what we believe, not focusing on the themes of the Bible and the things are are near to the heart of Jesus.
Quite honestly, it would be better if we could be fully committed – and not stuck in the middle. I guess, on the bright side, we haven’t invented a word to describe those people who profess Christianity but don’t really live it. Come to think of it, I think there are studies that refer to this category of people as “casual Christians”. Not exactly a title I would like to have attached to my name.
God really doesn’t care for things that are in between. He wants us committed to Him – not “yes” and “no”, but YES. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, brings this point home to us. Paul tells us, in 2 Cor. 1:18-20, “But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” In other words, the answer to Jesus should always be “yes” – not “no” or “maybe”. That’s were we run into problems, not committing to the Father and His Son, our Lord.
My encouragement this evening is that you shouldn’t be “graupelling” with your faith. Don’t get stuck in the middle – call it what it is. My prayer is that you will commit to the Lord with all your mind and all your heart and all your will. To the point that we won’t need to invent new words to describe people who aren’t really committed all the way. We have enough of that in the world already. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…