Look! there is flowing a crimson tide-Whiter than snow you may be today.
Grace, grace, God's grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within, Grace, grace, God's grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin. ~ Hymn by Julia H. Johnston
I was watching my daughter play in the snow wearing her ski pants two sizes too big. The snow was so white, almost blinding and the red of her clothes shouted in dark contrast to the clean white backdrop. As I stared at the beauty of the landscape and my sweet daughter, I was reminded of the verse that was shared with me the day that I found freedom in Christ at the age of twenty-one.
"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow..." ~ Isaiah 1:18
I was invited to attend a college bible study by a student I hardly knew. Surely, God uses people to fulfill His plan, because I doubt the young man would have put it high on his list to invite me to a Bible study; we didn't exactly run in the same crowd. All I knew about him was that he was quiet, had red hair and was a year behind me in Pharmacy school. I was walking quite a different path than him, and to this day, I wonder what it was that prompted him to invite me to the study with him and his friends.
Although I shudder to think what he knew about me, it is certain that he didn't know I had been searching for something for a year. I didn't know what the 'something' was or Who it was, but that night something, or rather, Someone found me.
The Bible study leader, another young man whose name I wish I remembered, spoke to me after the lesson. I wondered why he wanted to talk to me and concluded that it must be because I had the look of one covered in the ashes and soot of sin with tears held back like the floodgate of a reservoir. Certainly, in a room of church going teenagers and young adults, I must have stood out like a lump of coal.
The leader pulled me to the side and read to me a verse in Zechariah. "Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, "Take off his filthy clothes." Then he said to Joshua, "See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you." (Zechariah 3:3-4)
The floodgates broke and my tears poured out as grace poured down on me. I cannot hear the words of 'Amazing Grace', "How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed" without crying. The grace given to me was undeserved, yet so unbelievably freeing. It would take years before I really understood that God's grace is greater than our sins.
Where sin increased, grace increased all the more. ~ Romans 5:20
I often tell my kids that I write these lessons for them, not from a perch, but from a ditch. I am thankful the Lord put people in my life to help me dig out of the trenches. While I will always carry mud on my shoes and wrestle with sin, I am so grateful for the beautiful and unlimited gift of grace.
Blessings to you and Happy New Year!