White as Snow
All winter I have had my hopes on a good old-fashioned snowstorm- you know, the kind that leaves you snowed-in and brings a halt to the busyness of life. Winters around south-central PA aren’t very exciting anymore. Though the east coast had a couple big storms this year, they managed to skip our neck of the woods. I miss the big snowstorms I remember from my childhood. Of course, as a kid, my perspective was probably a bit skewed, making me think six inches was more like a foot. But all in all, the winter season seemed to be longer and snow started falling earlier. I remember making the drive to Cincinnati in the snow as we headed out to spend Thanksgiving with family. Having a white Christmas was commonplace and there was always an abundance of snow for building forts and snowmen throughout the winter season.
So, as we anticipated the arrival of “Winter Storm Saturn” overnight, I was excited by the thought of waking up to a winter wonderland. The kids went to bed knowing that school had already been cancelled because of coming snow. Imagine my disappointment when I awoke between 2:30 and 3:30 this morning to find no snow on the roads, or anywhere else for that matter. I headed back to bed feeling somewhat less excited about the “east beast” that had been forecasted to impact our area. Snow did eventually find it’s way to our little town and I woke up to a blanket of white…just not as much as was expected.
There is something refreshing about newly fallen, unadulterated snow. It covers over the brown, dead grass and plants that are anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring. It drapes itself over the tree branches and they fall under it’s weight. When the clouds have passed and the sun peaks through, the snowy landscape glistens and sparkles.
After taking in the beauty, I knew it was time for the inevitable. Maddie, our yellow lab, was also awake and needed out to do what dogs do. The snow quickly became matted down with paw prints and colored with shades of yellow and brown. It was also time to bundle up and start digging out before the snow became too weighted down and was harder to shovel. Dirt and pebbles mixed in with the snow piles and things didn’t feel so fresh anymore…kind of like the canvas of our lives. Impure thoughts can creep in and taint our minds. We hold on to anger and bitterness that take root and weigh us down, suffocating our joy. Sinful habits leave stains that seem too deep to remove. We reflect the patterns of the world more than the glory of our Savior.
In the midst of it all, I was reminded of a song we sang in church on Sunday: “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.” ( Elvina M. Hall and John Thomas Grape) God tells us in the first chapter of Isaiah, verse 18: “No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool.” This promise is just as true for us today as it was for the Israelites so many years ago.
We can start over with a clean slate when we recognize the sin in our lives and turn to Him with a truly repentant heart. This can be seen in David’s life after he had an affair with Bathsheba and then murdered her husband in an attempt to cover up his sins. He cried out to God for cleansing and forgiveness:
“Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my shameful deeds– they haunt me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner–yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you desire honesty from the heart, so you can teach me to be wise in my inmost being. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me–now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me again the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.” ( Psalm 51: 1-12, NLT)