If you are old enough to have any memory of 1993, and if you were living anywhere in the Southeast at the time, “Storm of the Century” means something to you.
Like when Kennedy was shot, when Elvis died, or when the planes crashed into the Twin Towers, the Superstorm of 1993 was one that left people remembering where they were, who they were with, and how long they were cooped up.
For some of you, snow is no big deal. Heck, you’ve even got shoes to wear in it. But in the South, where an inch of snow can shut everything down, 19-21 inches of the white stuff practically cataclysmic! And that’s what we got when the “Storm of the Century” came through.
But wherever you get snow, especially if it’s just enough to cover everything with a blanket of white, for a little while everything is so pretty, isn’t it? Even the trashiest places in your neighborhood (like the guy’s yard with all the car parts strewn around the lawn, or the grimy streets of some major, liberal-run city) can momentarily appear sanitary and safe.
Unfortunately, what covers up something doesn’t necessarily make it better, fix the problems, or make it any safer than it was before.
Back in March of ’93, when the snow in my yard was 21 inches deep, we had a blast jumping and falling into it. We had no fear of falling backwards, forwards, or any direction because the snow was just so deep that we would never hit anything hard.
However, what we never considered was that as we did the same thing around the neighborhood the risk of injury was much greater. We never stopped to think that just under the surface of that soft blanket of white could lie a broken bottle, a board with a nail sticking through it, or a pitchfork.
In Psalm 52 we read King David’s sorrowful prayer of repentance following his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah. Throughout the psalm we sense how dirty he felt, begging God to “wash,” “cleanse,” and “purge” him. Then, in verse seven David mentions snow.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.Psalm 51:7
Notice, David was wanting his unrighteousness to be washed away so that he would be white AS snow, not covered with it.
The prophet Isaiah also mentioned snow in this context.
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.Isaiah 1:18
Snow is the adjective, not the object. The desire is to be as clean and white as freshly fallen snow, not covered with it.
David knew the difference between works and grace. He knew there was nothing he could do to cleanse himself; only God could do that. Yet so many today simply try to cover up their sin with the snow of good deeds, appropriate associations, philanthropy, and religiosity. Sadly, all they really end up with are “whitewashed tombs” full of dead men’s bones.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers [tombs], which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.Jesus – Matthew 23:27 (KJV)
Have you ever asked yourself why it is that a snow-blanketed landscape is so beautiful? What about it appeals to us, especially when underneath the white are myriads of color, even if only multiple shades of brown and gray? Could it be that within humanity is desire to be clean? To be free from guilt? To be forgiven? To be “white as snow.”
Could it be that the beauty of fallen snow is more innate than perceived? Could it be that there’s more to it than simple aesthetic beauty, but a spiritual longing?
What is your desire? Don’t try hiding your mess with the snow! May snow itself lie and wish to be as white as the soul redeemed with the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.