White as Snow

Though your sins are as scarlet, They shall become as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be like wool.

Isaiah 1:18

A recent trip through the mountains became a sermon God preached to me as we drove.

The night before, snow fell steadily along parts of our scheduled route. The morning of the trip dawned sunny but frigid. As we headed into the snow laden territory we were cautiously optimistic about road conditions and thrilled to get a chance for our Southern souls to experience snow.

Within an hour of starting out we encountered patches of “a dusting of snow” here and there. Even that is enough to excite an Alabama girl. By lunch the shady side of the road had an inch or two, and though the sunny side was khaki-colored, dead, winter grass the excitement was mounting in the car. Eventually, the last few hours gave us our hearts’ desire, inches of white covered every hill and valley, laced the branches of trees, and powdered the mountains in the distance.

With clear roads – thank you very much snowy state, you know how to do it – and praise music filling the car, my heart soared! As white as snow! That was the whitest white, reflecting every bit of sunlight that hit it on that clear sunny day.

Though MY sins are as scarlet they shall become as white as snow…

The burning red of my anger and jealousy – made white!

All I could manage was trying to dust the the dirty landscape of my life with white.

The crimson of my selfish pride – made white!

My spotty cover up of sin with legalistic behavior in random places, useless.

The blood red depth of the evil thoughts and intents of my mind – made white!

Man-made snow, false whiteness, an attempt to appear pure myself.

The filthy, black soil of my sinful heart – made white!

All human attempts prove useless in cleansing and purifying.

I couldn’t make myself white any more than I could make snow. Left to my own means, I wallow in the devastation of my sin.

However, there is a solution – a Savior. I can place myself in the hands of the one who can make me white as snow, the one Who bled crimson blood to cover the depths of my sin, the purest of pure sacrificial Lamb Who paid the price for my failings. Thank you Lord for restoration, for giving us purity where we have been impure, and for scrubbing this dirt-dweller up to the brightest, cleanest white – whiter than snow! My life is in Your hands.

Be gracious to me, God, according to Your faithfulness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion, wipe out my wrongdoings. Wash me thoroughly from my guilt
And cleanse me from my sin. For I know my wrongdoings, and my sin is constantly before me. Psalm 51:1-3

Shoveling Snow

My younger brother lives in Wisconsin. He recently sent me pictures of his snow shoveling efforts – a clean sidewalk after almost 3 feet of snow! His photos showed banks of snow lining clear paths which would only stay clear for a short time since forecasters were predicting another 6 inches or more in the next 24 hours. Here in the sunny South, that sounds like fiction to us, but it is part of everyday life in winter for him and his neighbors.

I love snow. I would love hanging out with my brother right now for about a week to just enjoy walking and playing in the snow with him. The light amounts we get here in Alabama never quite satisfy me. My snowmen always have leaves and twigs mixed in. That happens when you’re working with a couple of inches rather than a couple of feet. I’m sure I would burn out on the fun of snow if I lived for a winter in Wisconsin. Think of the hours of shoveling and the cold, hard work every day. That does not sound fun. So I’ll content myself with living in Alabama and longing for the random snow day where everything closes down when we get 2 inches.

As you can see, I’ve been thinking about snow a lot lately, and of course, I saw a couple spiritual applications from my brother’s snow event.

First, the purity and brilliant whiteness of his new-fallen snow pictures really is astounding. Every picture looks clean and crisp and fresh, whether it’s snow covering the dead, unraked winter leaves, the dirty streets, or his trash can! Scripture tells us that the forgiveness we have in Christ is like that, it can make the filthiest clean. Isaiah 1:18 states, ““Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.” We see our past sin, our mistakes, our baggage. With the nudging of the enemy of our souls, we judge ourselves to be unforgivable. We internally, if not aloud, tell ourselves that we are too bad and no one could ever forgive us. But that is simply not true. Romans 5:6 says, “Christ died for the ungodly.” And Mark 2:17 reminds us of Jesus words, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” God’s grace is for each of us no matter how horrible or dirty we feel. He came for you! To redeem you and cleanse you from sin and make you as pure as snow.

The second thought that came to me is that just like snow, the “stuff” of life tends to pile up on us if we aren’t vigilant. That is why it is so crucial for me to stay in the Word and prayer each morning. It’s a cleaning out of the cobwebs of my heart. All those little, and big, irritations, fears, worries, concerns, sins, hurts, and anger pile up like snow from a blizzard in the front yard of my mind. The enemy uses them to distract me from focusing on God’s purposes for me that day and to keep me bound up in sin and useless to the Lord because I am preoccupied with the cares of life. Just as Matthew 13:32 describes – “The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful,” – I too can get caught up in worries and thoughts from the deceiver and become a fruitless vine. If I’m not going to the Father daily to confess sin and air out my inner closets, I find myself snowed in and alone, overwhelmed by life and at the end of my own strength. More snow falls into our life each day – whether personal sins or wounds from others or simply difficult life situations, so we must be vigilant to go to the Father every day and let Him help us shovel the sidewalks of our minds before the next snowstorm arrives.

So, wherever you live, be it tropical jungle or frozen tundra or anywhere in between, get alone with your Father. Listen to His Word. Express your heart to Him in prayer. Allow Him to clean out the piles and drifts and cobwebs so that you may be a useful tool in His hand today. And no matter what condemnation the enemy throws at you, remember Isaiah 1:18 – “They shall be as white as snow.”