"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." -Isaiah 1:18
This is a picture of a lot in my neighborhood. It used to be covered in junk, some run down houses and was basically an eye sore. I passed it a couple days ago; just as the sunlight was breaking through some trees onto the fresh fallen snow. It almost caught my breath away, because it looked so beautiful, especially compared to the way it used to be.
I was thinking about how snow reminds me of the way grace covers our sins. This lot was cleared by the demolition crew but it was scarred by the process. Sinful man has a uncanny way of leaving a wasteland behind his selfish living. Garbage, broken down vehicles, boarded up houses that look hunched over and about to crumble under the weight of disrepair.
But the land isn't what morns the loudest around here...You can see the same curse of sin weakening the very countenances and bodies of my neighbors. Meth addiction looks like an internal black hole that is sucking faces within themselves...the teeth have already been swallowed and the smile is next...leaving only a marred face that's far older than it ever was supposed to be.
I saw the slow despair as I was standing in line at the local convenience store on Christmas eve. I was buying butter for LeeElla because she was making carmel corn for our neighbors; but the other people surrounding the counter were all purchasing lottery tickets....lots of them. I stood there fully conscious of the desire to revel in the holiday moment versus the gnawing hopless hope of trying to gamble your way out of the present. I was sad as I watched them spend money on a pipe dream, when the real treasures were probably at home, getting less because the money was foolishly spent.
I left longing for a snowstorm of God's love and grace to descend and cover all the land and people of my little Nazareth. Because grace beautifies the sin worn face and soul and it's a source for an unfolding restoration that eventually even renews the earth (Ez 47). Peter summed up the work of the Holy Spirit and repentance as a "wiping away" and that results in "times of refreshing" in Acts 3:19. Oh how we need that work of grace in this hour.
"...O the happiness of him whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered" -Psalms 32"1