This is not exactly the prettiest time of the year in our part of the world. The green fields of summer turned golden brown with a beauty of their own as the corn and soybean, ready to harvest, were moving in the late summer breezes. As the fields emptied out our attention was pulled towards the trees which came alive with the brilliant fall foliage. But now, the crops are out of the field and the leaves are off the trees and clumped here and there into a brown wet pile that is starting to decay. The world has turned brown. The route I drive to the church takes me across the construction area for the new highway and that road has a layer of mud across it which makes it blend into the dreary, brown landscape.
We are, however awaiting a miraculous event. With the cold temperatures that are moving in we anticipate a miraculous transformation. Any morning now I expect to wake up to find a new beauty all around me. We will have one of those early winter wet snows that softly come down in the night to blanket the ground and cling to the trees. We may grumble about shoveling it and driving through it, but when the sun breaks through the clouds we will marvel at the beauty that surrounds us. The little crystals of ice that form on top of the snow will look like a sea of diamonds and when we drive through the quiet white world we will slow down even more as we pass woods that have been transformed into a brilliant beauty. It’s what inspires songs and poetry. While it is cold, we enjoy the view and begin to look forward to the new life we will see in the spring.
That is a picture of what God does in the lives of His children. We start out with beauty (not many ugly babies) and great potential, but in a short time the sin that has been in our hearts all along shows up in every aspect of our lives. We “look” dirty and our lives are dreary and dull. No real life, no beauty, not even a hint of potential goodness about us. Then, having submitted our lives in desperation to our maker and savior, something miraculous occurs. In the words that God spoke through the prophet Isaiah; “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. (Isaiah 1:18 ESV).” How wonderful the beauty that begins to cover the ugliness of our lives! And then, when we reflect the Son of God our lives take on an even greater splendor – His Glory covers our sin. We are also aware of the new life that is ready to appear as well.
As Isaiah offers that hope to Israel, it is clearly conditional. They are faced with a decision – they can follow God and experience His cleansing, transforming power or they can choose their own way and continue in the lifeless, dull existence that ends in death. Each of us is faced with that same choice. We can confess our sins and believe in Christ which results in His transforming work in our lives, or we can choose death. Choose life this day and all those around you will marvel at the new beauty they see!