“Oh, precious is the flow, That makes me white as snow.” (Robert Lowry, 1876)
It was early December and we had just received one of our first snows of the season. I was standing in church singing alongside the others a well-known hymn, Nothing But The Blood, when my mind wandered outside to that shining white precipitation covering the ground.
Yes, it’s all very pretty and clean-looking now. But by tomorrow the snow plows will have mounded it up on the side of the road, mixing with it grime and dirt. And the cars and traffic and everything else will have tainted the white to dirty brown. Then it occurred to me just how alike my sin and that dirty snow is. The hymn’s message is that nothing but the blood of Jesus can wash away my sin, that nothing but Jesus can make me the clean, sparkling white snow I long to be.
Embracing and living in the saving blood of Jesus takes a great deal of faith and sacrifice. It isn’t enough to just go through the motions. If our lives fail to look differently than they did before, then I might question the authenticity of our faith. Just the way our hearts shouldn’t keep becoming that “dirty snow” if we’ve truly allowed the blood of Christ to purify them.
There’s a reason that Christians aspire to have “faith like Abraham.” The scriptures of Abraham’s call to sacrifice Isaac has never resonated more with me than now that I have a son. I’ll be honest, if God asked me to do what he asked Abraham, I don’t know if I’d have the faith. Before having a son, I totally imagined I did. But that’s a major cultural downfall of today, isn’t it? We think we know how we’d handle a situation without the experience of what it would actually be like. I’m not sure if the root of that is pride or ignorance, or both.
A lot of scripture can seem hypothetical in application until God allows us to experience it first hand. How do we understand grace without sin? Or hope without suffering? That’s not to say that God cannot give us an understanding without the experience; but rather our experiences can enrich, deepen, and grow our understanding… If we allow it.
Now it’s mid-January and we just received our first snow of the year (it’s been a mild winter so far). The snow of December came, got dirty, and melted away. Now there’s new, white snow as far as the eye can see. So I think about the dirty snow that I am, a hot mess of dirt and grime mixed with the saving blood of Jesus, and I press on. Abraham was a great patriarch of our faith, but he too needed saving. Beneath Abraham’s divine calling and faith was perseverance, a supernatural inclination to press on.
Oh, precious is the flow.