by Rev. John Howard Farmer
Marching through snow
On our second March Monday rain teased us all morning, but, by dinner time white had decorated our landscape. Supper swallowed, I grabbed the TV remote to see if the weatherman knew it was snowing, the TV screen announced, “no signal.” Eek, no news, weather, Wheel of Fortune, no Jeopardy.
Mind you, I think the snow is beautiful. In my heart, I am still a little boy wallowing around in the yard pushing my arms and legs to and fro to make angels, angels, angels all over the place. Fear besieged my heart and the once-little boy remained inside, safe and warm. Besides my mittens probably don’t fit anymore—nothing else does.
Beyond the remembrances of youthful days of yore there presses an even larger scene in my mind. That would be of the crane it would require to lift me out of a snow bank should I have so foolishly tried to construct just one more snow angel. Imagine that scene. Ponder that… whew, I’d rather not.
There is something so lovely though about new fallen snow. If, even for the briefest moment, it offers such a cleansed look at all that there is to see. It sings to me an old gospel hymn: “Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole; I want Thee forever to ransom my soul; break down every idol, cast out every foe: now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow; now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow, (James Nicholson, 1828-1876, William G. Fischer, 1835-1912).”
The hymn crafters put tune and poem to page as a dedication to God of his renewing power. Further, it reminds us that God is always able, willing and longing to cleanse us all, to place us all under a blanket of new fallen snow. The song plows deeper. It surrenders self as it begs God, through Christ, to create a new heart in me (us). What a wonderful thought, a divine idea. Make me new inside, just like the covering power of snow; hiding all the current imperfections, rounding out all the sharp corners and making all more beautiful. That’s a song worth singing on snowy or sunny days.
The hymn tells me that God, for as long as we live, seeks to regenerate us into the positive, forgiven, useful, partners-of-faith that we can possibly be. I hope that it awakens in each of us a desire to be cleansed, from without and within.
Tomorrow is supposed to be an off-shore day, as my bride has an out-patient surgery schedule to mature. I’ve tried to remind myself that whatever the current and/or future weather conditions, life goes on. I will slow a bit in my driving tomorrow and offer more courtesy to others, praying all the while that we will all get to destinations scheduled and home without injury for ourselves and those we encounter.
For all those who bemoan the weather, let me inform you that I have children and grandchildren who are hoping for a snow day. Wherever they live, near or far, snow for them, is too rare a commodity. At least in any good quantity such as what would be required for outdoor recreation; just enough to park the yellow buses.
Snow requires that we act sensibly. When our Rob was a cadet he chuckled to remind us of a tale of a Baptist faculty member at his school who bragged incessantly about his skiing prowess. Putting words to feet he armed himself with sufficient paraphernalia and set off to demonstrate to the corps a downhill example. The teacher managed to strain a muscle or two and perhaps jammed more than one joint tumbling downhill in front of an audience supreme, so much for self-described experts.
There is a life lesson there. It is not about how well we master our weather or our surroundings. It is about how dependent upon God we are to make good decisions: how we place ourselves into the hands of a forgiving Savior and seek his grace, his mercy.
Well, I just cast an eye out-of-doors again. It is still beautiful. I hope and pray that you are warm and mindful of God’s renewing powers. It is almost time for shut eye. I pray that you will invite the Lord to apply the cleansing power of a new fallen snow to your life tonight and tomorrow…
As for marching through the snow… at least we can stop chatting about the windiest March ever…
Chances are that by early morning we’ll have to find something other than the snow over which to agonize.