Monday, January 10, 2011

Let it Snow!

As the Worship Leader for First Family of Columbia, one thing that I enjoy doing is writing a weekly column for our Worship Ministry newsletter.  Today, I'd like to share this column on our blog . . . 

I’m sitting here looking out the window at the newly fallen snow.  4-5 inches have fallen overnight and it is untouched, un-walked on, unblemished.  A white blanket is covering our backyard.  Many of you have been to our house.  It is a white house with black shutters, surrounded by a white fence.  When you look at the snow settled on the roof of the house, or piling on the fence posts, you see the stark contrast of what the color “white” really is!  Our house looks more creamy or dull in comparison to the vibrant brightness of the snow.

So what can we learn from the snow today?  That is what I’m asking the Lord this peaceful morning.  As I begin to dig into God’s Word and find references to this weather beauty, here are some gleanings . . .

First of all, snow falls at God’s command.  Period.  No other explanation. After Job’s three friends have tried to inform him of the “whys and hows” of his situation, God finally speaks.  He presents one unexplainable phenomenon after another, calling Job to truly understand His sovereignty.  How would you like God asking this of you?
“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen 
the storehouses of the hail?” (Job 38:22)

Dick and I always marvel at the wording we hear come out of the mouths of local weathermen.  When we’re expecting sunny weather, they may utter something like, “We’ve got a great day ahead for you today!” or when it’s going to be stormy, you may hear, “Sorry, but we’ve got a day of rain planned for you today!”  THEY have the weather lined up?  Um, I don’t think so.  God alone is in control, watching over the “storehouses of snow” and allowing “rain in its season” (Deuteronomy 28:12).
“He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’, and to the rain
shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour’.”  (Job 37:6)

“You heavens above, rain down my righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. 
Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, 
let righteousness flourish with it; I, the LORD, have created it. (Isaiah 45:8)

I mentioned how white the snow looks.  It is a color unlike any other!  Pure, bright, crisp.  What a stark comparison to the blackness of sin that David felt in his heart after the events concerning Bathsheba and Uriah.  He prayed this:
“Cleanse me with hyssop and I will be clean; 
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”  (Psalm 51:7)

David’s desire was for the Lord to thoroughly cleanse Him.  His deep yearning was to be washed through and through. I just did a quick side trip digging into the significance of hyssop, which was an herb used for a variety of things ~ it was used to dip in the basin of blood to apply to the doorposts during Passover, it was a part of the ceremonial cleansing of lepers (Lev. 14:1-8), and it was even used to raise up the sponge of sour wine to Jesus’ lips during the crucifixion (John 19:29).  Here’s a commentary I just read:  In this passage, David is asking for deep heart cleansing and uses hyssop to symbolize that since it is a common cleaning agent. It is interesting that when he says "wash me" he is talking about the way clothes were washed in his time, with beating and pounding. He is so deeply sorry; he wants more than a quick wash up. He wants the very desire for sin to be washed out of him. Do we ever feel that repentant over our own sin?

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”
(Isaiah 1:18)

One more observation.  Snow that falls from heaven is both refreshing and nourishing.  It is a picture of rebirth, renewal, and rejuvenation.

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, 

and do not return to it 
without watering the earth 
and making it bud and flourish, 
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 
so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, 

but will accomplish what I desire 
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” 
(Isaiah 55:10-11)

“ Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger 
to the one who sends him; he refreshes the spirit of his master.”
(Proverbs 25:13)

I guess that explains why our desire is to play in the snow, take walks in the snow, lay down in the snow and make “snow angels”, watch our dogs run around in the snow . . . perhaps subliminally we recognize that it’s a sign of purity, transformation, and revival?

The creativity of our Heavenly Father should never cease to amaze us!  And most days, I fail to be aware and even cognizant of His divine creation.  But today, I’m going to intentionally look out the window more . . . maybe take a walk through the neighborhood . . . perhaps even make a snowball and give it a throw (not at my husband, though.  He grew up in Ohio and would beat me hands down in a snowball fight!).   Bottom line?  May we give thanks in this generally desolate winter season for the beauty of a snowy day!

The Snow 
(By Edith Willis Linn Forbes, 1865-1945)

Folding the earth in its mantle
Pure and undefiled
Soft in its own clear whiteness
As the cheek of an innocent child
The snow o’er the world is falling
It floats upon the air
Silent, yet ever restless
As a child’s hands crossed in prayer.

Like a benediction descending
O’er the sin-stained weary world
It falls in tender pity
It’s mantle o’er all unfurled
Oh, Father in Heaven above us
Thy goodness and Thy love
Descend like a silent spirit
Like a pure and spotless dove.

This world is a mystery of sorrow
And dark with sin and woe
Over its toil and sadness
Thy mantle of mercy throw
Fold us about, protect us
In Thy garment, spotless white
As the snow in its silent falling
Is shrouding the earth tonight

1 comment:

  1. love the Job thoughts. I'm reading through it right now! thanks mrs. tunney!