I love this extended analogy–although it’s almost eastern in its “coming into one,” it deftly expresses the connection between natural and human expressions of praise and how they are all useful in His eyes:
“Snow.” As sure as every falling flake of winter’s snow has a part in the great economy of nature, so surely has every Word of God which falls within the sanctuary its end to accomplish in the moral sphere. I have stood on a winter’s day, and seen the tiny flakes in little clouds lose themselves one by one in the rushing river. They seemed to die to no purpose – to be swallowed up by an enemy which ignored both their power and their existence. And so have I seen the Word of God fall upon human hearts. Sent of God, from day to day and from year to year, I have seen it dropping apparently all resultless into the fierce current of unbelief – into the fiercer gulf-stream of worldliness which was sweeping through the minds and the lives of the hearers. But as I stood upon the river’s bank and looked upon what seemed to be the death of the little fluttering crystal, a second thought assured me that it was but death into life, and that every tiny flake which wept its life away in the rushing waters, became incorporate with the river’s being. So when I have seen the Word of God fall apparently fruitless upon the restless, seething, rushing current of human life, a recovered faith in the immutable declaration of God has assured me that what I looked upon was not a chance or idle death, but rather the falling of the soldier, after that he had wrought his life-force into the destiny of a nation and into the history of a world. And so it must ever be. The Word of God ever reaches unto its end. – S. S. Mitchell, in a Sermon entitled “The Coming of the Snow and the Coming of the Word,” 1884.