Scripture: “Come, now, let us reason together,” says the
LORD. “Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though
they are as red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18, NIV
Deer are plentiful
enough, and of sufficient size, that their presence is often noted in the
woods and fields that surround our house. We see marks of their hooves in
the soft soil, and know that they come to drink at the pond. They also leave
a compressed area in the grass in the pastures, where they bed down over
Those masked bandits, the raccoons, are often seen,
but more frequently make their presence known by leaving footprints in the
mud at the edges of ponds and streams. Rabbits and squirrels frequent the
yard, often to the detriment of my attempts at growing things we both relish.
Birds of all sizes are also easily spotted, especially
the numerous visitors to our bird feeders, the geese and blue heron that
make the pond a port of call, and, of course, the hovering buzzards that
look down from on high.
We know there must be many other birds and animals
out there that we do not normally see. Some are evidenced by things the
cats drag in. Others are heard, but not seen, like the call of the
cock pheasant, or the howl of the coyote that puts our livestock guard dog
on high alert. Sometimes the soaring notes of a hidden songster pulls at
our heart strings, alluring, yet unseen.
What a different world we discover
on those calm, cold wintery days when we step out into a world painted on
a canvas of white! The rabbits and squirrels now mark their every step with
their signature footprint. I can tell where the spooked rabbit shifts into
high gear. The night-traveling dog, and even the deer, are easily noted.
Birds do come to earth; we read their touch-downs and hop-abouts like a message
written on a page of snow. But the little creatures, things that hide in
the woodlot leaves and tufts of grass in the fields, leave tracks and trails
in abundance. What we have speculated about, because the dog’s marvelous
nose had indicated there must be something there, now makes evident that
they do indeed exist. What has long been hidden is now plainly seen.
Sometimes I wish there were a way that I could make
people’s thoughts and deeds so visible. I think of the day in the courtroom,
when we, the jury, struggled to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused,
knowing some who testified were not telling the truth. My, how the face
of politics would be changed if motives could be seen, and discrepancies
made evident for all.
Then, the sobering thought strikes deep. How
would my own life change, if thoughts and deeds were put on such open display.
Rare among us, I’m sure, would be the individual
who would fear not for full disclosure of every moment of our
lives. Something to strive for, of course, but difficult for the humanity
that lies within us.
Yet, because I believe in the future judgment,
and the accountability that comes with it, it behooves me to acknowledge my
shortcomings, and call on the grace and mercies of God for the cleansing that
will make this trammeled and much tracked earthly journey as clean as the
new-fallen snow on the woodlot and field. The LORD has promised as much: “Though
your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”
Therein lies our only hope for the mortal to become immortal, and for the
perishable to become eternal.
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