Monday, March 02, 2009

THOUGHTS FOR A SNOWY DAY

Nobody loves snow like I do. I pray for snow when everyone else is praying for spring. I guess I was deprived, growing up in South Carolina. Ten years in Latvia should have made up for that, but I just can't get enough of it.

Anyway, today we've got it in spades here in Virginia--plenty of white, blowing, drifting, magical, beautiful snow. It's the kind that sticks to the windward side of the trees, marking each with a long white stripe. There is a big drift on the rooftop landing outside my window that sparkles like diamonds each time the sun peeks through the clouds for a moment. I'm happy to stay inside, but I did go out long enough to take a few photos in the backyard that I hope you'll enjoy.

Maybe one of the reasons I love snow so much (besides that it provides a good excuse to stay indoors with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate) is that, to me, it symbolizes God's grace and blessing. In fact, I was thinking this morning as I looked out at the white world about the parallels between what happens in the life of a snowstorm and what happens in God's plan of redemption.

Maybe I'm reaching here, but this is what I see. Snow falls and covers everything--the good, the bad, and the ugly--with a beautiful blanket of purest white. It reminds me of Isaiah 1:18 which says, "'Come now, let us reason together,' says the LORD. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.'" As glorious as a snow-covered landscape is, a heart and life covered with God's grace through the Blood of Jesus is infinitely more glorious. It blankets our sins, shortcomings, even our best human efforts, with the one thing that can change us from the inside out.

That process of change, however, is where it all gets messy, like melting snow. As the fluffy white stuff turns to a wretched brown slush, so that initial joy of salvation we each feel gives way to wondering what the heck happened as God's hard work of sanctification begins in our lives. He starts out playing nice, sure. But then He starts churning up all the junk in our lives, letting us see ourselves for who we really are. He begins with the blatant, "big" sins like drug addiction, adultery, or cheating on our income taxes, for example. If we make it through that, then He starts the fine tuning with less obvious, heart issues like selfishness, pride, and unforgiveness. Yikes! If you've been there, you know that it's messy, and definitely not pretty sometimes. It's like slogging through the mush after a snow and wondering what possessed to you to get out in all that. But sometimes it's the only way to get from point A to point B.

Thank God(quite literally), that's not the end of the snow story, nor our walk through God's uncomfortable sanctification process. That hazardous, soupy, brown eyesore is finally warmed by the sun and melts into the ground, softening it and bringing forth verdant new life and great beauty from that dead brown stuff that used to be our grass or flowers. God's love and grace, warm as the sun, softens our hearts and by His miracle power brings forth new life and growth in amazing beauty where death and yucky stuff lived before.

And with that, the cycle of sanctification is finished. . .until the next round. Like the seasons, it never ends. You know just what I mean, don't you?

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