Whiter Than Snow

Have mercy on me, O God,
   because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
   blot out the stain of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt.
   Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my rebellion;
   it haunts me day and night.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
   I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
   and your judgment against me is just.
For I was born a sinner—
   yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
But you desire honesty from the womb,
   teaching me wisdom even there.
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
   wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Oh, give me back my joy again;
   you have broken me—
   now let me rejoice.
Don’t keep looking at my sins.
   Remove the stain of my guilt.
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
   Renew a loyal spirit within me. (Psalm 51:1–10 NLT)

Anyone who’s awoken for the day to discover a fresh blanket of snow resting on the ground, a covering that had not been there the night before, knows the beauty of clean, white snow. All the hard edges visible on even a moonless night disappear under the thick cover of new snowfall. Snow softens all sharpness and conceals all mistakes. It covers over all that is broken and dying – the potholes, the cracked sidewalks, the bare patches of dirt in the lawn from being walked on too often.

Even the cacophony of neighborhood noises – snow blowers, distance sirens, children at play – loses its sharpness to the deep quiet of snow falling from the heavens. We often think of springtime as the beginning, the start, the onset of what is new and vibrant, but before spring can arrive there must first be the blank, white page of winter.

Yet much of what makes snow so beautiful is an illusion. The potholes, cracked sidewalks, and bare patches in the lawn have not gone away; they have simply been hidden. There is no correction, only cover-up. The softening of the world that occurs when snow falls is temporary. This is not true of the heart made clean by God, the soul renewed through the removal of sin and guilt. The purity we get a small, temporary glimpse of in newly fallen snow is made the reality of our lives through Christ.

“If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9). Confess to God the sins you have committed against him, against your fellow children of God, and against God’s creation, for this is the first step in the restoration of your soul – the filling in of potholes, the mending of cracks, and the fertilization of the bare patches that you have for too long left neglected. Allow the Spirit to spend the necessary time with you to make this restoration a reality.