"All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired."
It was up to my knees! My four year old feet, donned in little girl boots, struggled to keep up with my dad as we made our way to the basement of our Atlanta, Georgia, home, looking for a shovel. The grounds of our little Cape-Cod cottage on a hill were covered in snow, and with each step, I felt a candylike crunch beneath my feet. I had to pull my petite self along through the frozen slush. It must have been one of those Southern snows that is first a lovely, fluffy white but then becomes a nightmarish, slilppery, four-inch-thick cake, iced with sheer ice.
The cold and the wet white did not delight me then. I had not yet learned the blessing it could be. I wanted to be in the warmth of my cozy, lavender bedroom, surrounded by my dolls and tea sets and other toys. Why in the world I was helping Daddy look for a shovel I do not know. All I know is that tiny snippet of shovel-searching is my first snow memory.
Many snow memories have followed, and all of them have been joyful events, including the newest one, which occured today here in northern Alabama. If I gazed out the window once today, I did so about thirty times, and by now, I know my friends who live in a proverbial blanket of white each winter must be laughing or shaking their heads in disbelief.
But a snow day in the Deep South is a gift of true luxury. Children, of all ages, pray for it and wait for it each winter with great expectations, and when the sparkling specks of white begin to drift from the heavens and cling to the earth, we are overcome with joy and thankfulness for a few days of snowbound life if we're twice blessed.
You see, the rarity of our white blessing does not justify the purchase by our cities and counties for enough trucks and plows and whatever it takes to clear the roads and keep them safe. Henceforth, when snow accumulates, roads, schools, and most businesses close, and you hope you have been to the grocery store, for, short of an emergency, you may be homebound until temperatures climb above freezing. A day that begins in normality suddenly turns into a new beginning of a blissful mini-vacation, as you are tucked within your home, nestled wtih family, food, and fun.
And, if you happen to have an empty nest, you have a lot of time of think. Today was opportunity.
I am a constant analyser and assessor of self. I observe my own motives. Listen to my own voice. Search my own soul. Hear my own heart.
It is not easy. It hurts. It is exhausting. It is costly.
For part of my morning devotional today, the Lord led me to Psalm 51. It is David's offering of repentance after his sin of adultry with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah.
What impresses me most with the Psalm, are David's brokenness and honesty. His words are woven with grief and watered with remorse. His desire for God's grace and mercy rings with desperate appeal. "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" (7, NKJV).
I imagine David's painful prayer. I see him walk and raise his voice to heaven. I see him lie in dust and declare his demise. I see him, in despair, rue the day of his birth. I see him sink in sorrow, his face drowned by hot tears.
I hear David cry and beg for God's mercy, and I hear the King weep and wail for his sin.
David's guilt and pain gripped his life and tortured his soul.
Through his own guilt, through the painful suffering of personal remorse, David discovers the true values of God. As the psalmist experiences the reality of his own sin, as David faces his own failure and looks at that sin and failure through the eyes of His Redeemer, David has an incredible moment of truth. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart - these, O God, You will not despise" (17, NKJV).
What an awesome moment of revelation! What an awesome moment of relief! God does not desire burnt offering for the sake of the offering. God desires brokenness. Humility. Our own realization of our own spiritual helplessness. God desires remorse. Real repentence. Deep sorrow that makes you want to change your life and never be the same again.
David found that humility and repentance for his crisis of sin. We can find it, too, for any and every moment in our lives, even though what troubles us may seem so small.
How can we find brokenness, humility? How can we experience great depth of sorrow for our sins, faults, failures, and needs? How can we grow into the reality of our weaknesses? How can we have Holy Spirit transformation in our lives? How can we change?
As David did - only through God's creation. What emotion the psalmist must have felt as he wrote, "Create in me a clean (pure, holy, free from corruption) heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (10, NKJV).
Listen, friends! The Hebrew word David uses for create is the same one used in Genesis 1:1! The psalmist confessed his inability! The psalmist proclaimed God's ability!
David's answer, our answer, is the creative voice of God spoken into our lives. The same voice that said, "Let there be light" (Genesis 1:3), is more than able to speak His power into our lives and give us whatever we need, including a new heart.
A new heart! It's what I'm seeking this year. I want a heart like Jesus' heart. Honestly, it intimidates me to pray for it. I know it will not come cheaply. In fact, I am very sure it has great cost. I hope I am ready to pay the price for a new heart! To sacrifice for God's miraculous moving with power!
Will you please join me in this journey? If not, will you please pray for me? Ask the Lord to give me the tenacity and faith to allow Him to speak His creative word and do His creative work, so I will be a vessel that pleases God.
The Lord is so good! He has prepared our steps! Each part of our day was planned and written in His book before our very conception (Psalm 139:16).
Today was the day that snow would have new symbolism for me. When I awoke this morning, I had no idea God would bring such a prolific metaphor into my life! The clean, white dust from heaven tells of a merciful God who purifies and renews and speaks creative miracles into my life and your life. Falling snow is new hope. New hope is new creation. New creation is new life. New life means a new heart. Praise His name, Elohim, the God Who creates!