“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalms 51:7 ESV)
When I lookout my breakfast nook window after a snow I see a snow-covered hillside garden. (pictured above) The scene always puts an old hymn into my mind—“Whiter Than Snow” (circa 1872). As I admire the snowy beauty, glad that I don’t have to get out in it, I find myself humming the tune and marveling at its words.
If you aren’t familiar with the song, whose lyrics were written by James L. Nicholson, you can hear it on YouTube. Online, I found six verses to this hymn, but my favorites verses are 1 and 6, and, of course, the chorus. These two verses, in my opinion, sum up a Christian’s assurance of heaven—our confession of faith in the Lord, our baptism, and God’s response to our surrender.
Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole; I want Thee forever to live in my soul;
Break down every idol, cast out every foe—Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
The blessing by faith, I receive from above; Oh, glory! my soul is made perfect in love;
My prayer has prevailed, and this moment I know, The blood is applied, I am whiter than snow
Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow,
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
The song’s inspiration was most likely Psalms 51:7: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (ESV)
As much as I love the beauty of a fresh snowfall, its glory will diminish as time goes by. Children will roll snowmen in the front yards, exposing the brown grass and mud beneath the snowflakes. Cars will splatter gray mush onto the pure white edges of the road. And eventually the sun will come out and melt away winter’s glory. The picture perfect moments that have drifted from the sky aren’t permanent.
But when God washes us and makes us whiter than snow, that purity won’t fade as long as we are His. In the book of Revelation, Jesus said, “..and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of Life.” (Revelation 3:4-5 ESV)
I don’t know about you, but I take great comfort in knowing that my walk with the Lord has made my soul whiter than snow.
So, the next time a winter storm comes your way, remember this old hymn and celebrate the storm’s beauty—even if you have to shovel ten inches of snow. Because as the song says, The blood is applied, I am whiter than snow. Oh, glory! my soul is made perfect in love. And that’s something to celebrate.
Whiter Than Snow (© Catherine Hershberger 2/17/2020)
About the Author:
Catherine is a member of Greendale First Church of Christ. She is also an award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance under the pen name of Catherine Castle. Many of her devotions have appeared on various places on the internet. You can find her books on her Amazon Author page or at Barnes and Noble.