Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Psalms 51:7-12 (NKJV)
When I was younger I used to enjoy those occasional snow days that would halt regularly scheduled activities, especially school. Waking up in the morning and hearing the radio announce the name of our school as one of the districts to be closed due to a major snow storm was exhilarating. My brother and sister and I would bundle up in our winter gear and grab the sleds out of the garage and head on outside to make tracks in the freshly fallen snow. Hours would pass before we grew tired of playing in the snow. We would make snow forts, snowmen, toss snowballs at each other, sled down the back hill into the neighbors yard, roll around in the snow and even make snow angels. Oh the fun we had as kids playing in the snow.
This week the northeast got blanketed in over 2 feet of snow, and now that I am no longer a school kid snow days are not quite as much fun as they once where. Having a snow day from work is not the same as having a snow day from school, primarily because there is a financial cost attached to the day off. The joy of a snow day has been replaced with the realization that someone has to shovel all that snow out of the driveway and off the sidewalks to make it possible to travel away from home. I have no desire today to make snowmen, or sled down a hill, or even make snow angels, the fact is I do not particularly like snow at all. It does look pretty hanging off the trees and blanketing the countryside, but it surely is no fun to have to shovel all that white stuff off the driveway and maneuver around on snow covered roadways.
It is amazing how our perspective changes as we age. What once was an event we looked forward too has turned into an event we could for the most part live without. I know God in His infinite wisdom felt the need to send snow in the winter, but I think I would much prefer to skip it altogether. If I could control the weather I think it would be a nice warm sunny spring day all year round. I know that is not practical in the northeast but hey I can dream can’t I?
Why this change of perspective when it comes to snow days? What causes one to change one’s opinion of a life event so markedly? Has our life’s situation changed so much that we no longer view the same event in the same way? When I was a child a snow day meant a day off from something that was less appealing — school, but as I got older that same snow day became the object of my dislike because I no longer associated the arrival of snow as a welcome diversion but rather as toilsome and inconvenient. The joy of those bygone snow days has been erased.
The snow that was a joy and delight in my childhood has become a minor inconvenience today. What once brought hours of joy and endless possibilities has today become a nuisance. Perhaps it would do me good to try to remember the joy of my childhood during these Northeast snow days. Perhaps I should try to recapture some of the thrill of those bygone days. Perhaps I should try to see a snow day as a welcomed diversion from normal day to day life.
King David likened snow to his being washed of his sin. He had lost the joy that came along with living because of his transgressions against God. He knew daily that he had messed up and wanted to recapture the joy that came along with being cleansed and forgiven. Guilt and shame steals a great deal of joy from our lives. So does regret. To a child being corrected by our parents ranked high on the list of dislikes. Being disciplined was not something we loved as a child, actually it is not something we enjoy as adults either.
David wanted to be forgiven from his past transgressions and find once again the joy that came along with forgiveness. The weight of his sin was bearing hard upon him and brought great sorrow to his life. Things looked rather bleak to him when he penned these words. Psalm 51 is a heartfelt cry to God from a broken man seeking restoration. He wanted to find that childlike joy he once knew. Just like a scolded child seeks restoration to the loving embrace of their parents, so did David seek the reassurance of God’s love once again. He felt unclean, unloved, and unforgiven. Although he knew he was guilty he also knew God was forgiving if he sought His forgiveness sincerely.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NKJV)
David was looking forward to a snow day. He wanted to be blanketed with the pure white snow that could cover his barrenness and emptiness. The rough patches are smoothed over when snow covered, and David knew that his sins would be blotted out once the cleansing snow of God’s love covered over his sin. What a wonderful picture of God’s love. His love makes us WHITER than snow. It cleanses us completely of the ugliness of our sinful natures. God’s love can restore to us the joy we feel when our mistakes are erased, and our guilt has been removed.
Perhaps I should look forward to more snow days as well. Perhaps I need to remind myself of the cleansing power of God’s love and embrace His snow days. Perhaps a snow day should be the reminder needed to keep my eyes focused on all that God has done. Maybe I will go outside and make a few snow angels after all.