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November 1, 2012

WASHING WITH SNOW
Many days, our recovery students here at Christian Discipleship Center learn important truths. Many days, those of us on staff learn important truths. Many days, we all learn important truths from each other.

I was recently reminded of *Billy, a CDC student who graduated from our winter program several years ago, and the important truth I learned one day.

Six to eight inches of snow had fallen the night before. It was cold, but beautiful. The next day, I looked out our porch window and noticed the students had gone into the dining room for midmorning
snacks. Only Billy was still outside. I could see what he was doing. I just had no idea why? As I watched, he bent over and scooped up hands full of freshly fallen snow and scrubbed his face vigorously with it—not just once, but several times. It's really none of my business, I thought, but it is very curious! And since I have little control over my curiosity, I asked Billy about it later that day.

“Why?” I asked.

“To wake up my face,” he answered softly. “My grandmother used to throw us out in the snow with a bar of BIA [Bureau of Indian Affairs] soap and say, 'Wash yourself.' She say it is good for
our...how you say it...'cosmetic'?” I looked at Billy's smooth, bronze skin. Evidently Grandmother was right.

It reminded me of something I had recently read in the book of Job. Job was voicing the futility of being clean before God through his own efforts. “If I wash myself with snow,” he said in Job 9:30,
“and make my hands ever so clean...,” I read, half expecting it to say, “If I wash myself with snow and BIA soap...”

King David, on the other hand, asked God to do the cleansing. “...wash me,” he prayed in Psalm 51:7, “and I shall be whiter than snow.” He goes ahead in verse 10 to ask God to “Create in me a
clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” It's a good prayer for CDC students and staff alike. (Some need a clean heart and some need a renewed spirit (added by Cord)).

I still have a mental picture of Billy's grandmother tossing her grandchildren out into the snow for their cleansing. God's cleansing may seen a bit cold sometimes, but it wakes up and refreshes our
hearts. It was an important truth I learned one day while watching a young Navajo man vigorously scrub his face with snow.

Is your heart as white as snow, or is it as dark and dirty as mud? We have a God who has an offer out to anyone who will believe. Through His son, Jesus the Messiah, we have the opportunity to receive salvation and the forgiveness of sins, if only we believe. That forgiveness brings a cleansing, making our hearts whiter than snow and our lives brightened by the love of Christ.