We got a pretty crazy amount of snow over the last 24 hours! So we are sitting here without power — safe, warm and enjoying how ridiculously beautiful it is outside.
Snow has some mystical, and often deceptive, power. It magically smooths everything out and gives the world a gloriously clean facade. It dampens the noise of the world while slowing everything down to a crawl. But…underneath the surface…
After I graduated college I worked at a youth camp (Sonlight) in Pagosa Springs, Colorado for a ski season. We’d have to get up early to get the kids fed and lunches packed, but then I’d usually be able to ski Wolf Creek for a few hours. On one beautiful powder day I was skiing the back country, away from the slopes, just going downhill between trees. As I went down a dip in terrain I painfully realized that there was a fallen tree under the surface of the snow. My skis and feet when under the tree while the rest of me went over it, bringing me to an immediate stop. What looked incredibly beautiful ended up cracking my leg (but not so bad that I couldn’t take some advil and keep skiing).
This is often how we view what God has done to our sins. He “covered” them for sure, but they still lurk underneath. We often don’t feel clean, just covered. But this is our old religious self rearing it’s accusing head, telling us that we are dirty, worthless and really testing God’s patience. Yet instead of latching onto the cleansing hope of Jesus, we just keep trying to cover our heart’s fallen trees with religious, behavior-management snow so that nobody (often including ourselves) can see the danger underneath. Jesus confronted this with the religious elite:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
He was telling them, and telling us, that our hearts are dead and rotting, in need of re-creation, not just cleaning. We need new hearts, not repaired old hearts. King David, the great great (etc) grandad of Jesus, had some heart road-kill deep down and realized that he needed an outside surgeon…leading him to Psalm 51, his poem of repentance:
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
This is why Jesus had to come. He had to have a heart like ours so that he could equally swap with us, giving us his pure heart along with all it’s benefits while taking ours, along with all it’s penalties. So our hearts are not snow-covered, they are snow-colored. They are pure because we’ve been given His.
So enjoy the snow, and let it remind you of your true identity in Jesus.