As a little girl, I remember all those Sunday mornings when my mom, brother and I would climb the stairs together, up to the second floor of that small town Baptist church to find our seats, tucked into that same little corner where the curved wooden pew wrapped around the balcony, overlooking row after row of people down below.
I remember adoring one hymn, in particular, and how I always hoped we would sing it because it spoke right to my heart. The lyrics created word pictures in my mind:
I hear the Savior say,
Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.
As a girl of 8 or 9 years of age, I didn’t have much life experience. I didn’t have deep things to feel shame over. I doubt I even grasped the concept of sin.
But I do know this: my spirit stirred within me at those words.
Something in my heart said:
YES! This is what my soul needs! This is what I long for. Oh, how I want to be made clean! Oh, how I want to be washed whiter than snow. Wash me, Lord! Cleanse me with your hyssop branch and remove the crimson stain on my soul.
I cannot tell you how or why my heart told me I needed to be washed, that I had a deep, permanent stain on the inside, somewhere I could not reach on my own.
But each time I sang the words of that hymn, ‘sin had left a crimson stain, you washed it white as snow‘ my heart and soul cried out within me, sucking in that breath of fresh air as if I had been underwater for an agonizing amount of time.
Oh, how I wish the world’s advice could be true. How I wish we could heal ourselves. Trust me, I’ve tried. Time and time again. We say things like: Forgive yourself. Keep calm and carry on. Everyone makes mistakes. Accept who you are. Live with no regrets. Let go. Move on. Believe in yourself.
But for me, without the power to change, they are just words. Empty, powerless words. Words that sound good and true and right at the time. But when tried and tested, they can never remove the burden I carry. They can never transform or liberate or empower. In fact, they often do just the opposite – they defeat me. They make me feel worse. And I know, deep down, that no matter what I do, I cannot rid myself of that dark, heavy, dirty, empty, scary feeling inside that slowly suffocates me.
I don’t like the idea that Jesus had to die for us. I don’t like the idea of needing a blood sacrifice to atone for our sins. And honestly, I don’t like the idea of needing saving. Who does?
But I cherish the idea of being washed, made clean, whole again, free, unburdened, unhindered, and deeply precious in His sight.
I don’t know where you are on your faith journey. Or if you are even on one. But I do know this: I have sought Him and found Him. I have knocked and He opened the door. I have searched for Him, high and low, as eagerly as if I was looking for a buried treasure and He made Himself be found.
For you, He waits. He whispers. He gently woos. Quiet your soul. Let Him speak to your heart. If you are willing, He will mend your wounds, He will heal your scars, and He will wash your crimson stains and make you whiter than snow.