“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the good things of the land;
but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
- Isaiah 1:18-20
The photo shows one red car and one white car, but a Sunday, not long ago, I saw a different scene.
Our church has two services, an early service, Sunday school, and then the second service. With my wife’s kidney dialysis, we are never quite sure if she will have the energy to sit through both Sunday school and the worship service. I prefer the early service. Since I teach Sunday school, missing Sunday school is not an option. So, we go for the Sunday school hour and then if she feels up to it, we stay for the worship service.
Now to lay out the parking lot: There is a handicapped parking lot with maybe six spaces in a flat spot away from the back door of the church, which really is the main entrance. The church faces the highway and there is no parking on that side of the church. But between the handicap lot and the back entrance, there are eight parking places that they designate as handicap for Sunday only. There is a slope, so the spots are not really legal as handicapped spaces, but since my wife and I have difficulty walking long distances and do not need a wheelchair, we use those spots.
On this Sunday, there were two vehicles parked near the church entrance. Both were cherry red cars. My wife grumbled and told me to leave a one space gap and park further up the hill rather than squeeze the SUV into a small space, having her get out against the curb. She new one of the owners but had no idea who the other car owner was. They had gone to the first church service, and we got there before the service finished. We parked four spaces up the hill toward the official handicapped area. My wife was really wanting to stay for the service. She grumbled that the extra 20-30 feet of walking might do her in.
But she needn’t have worried. We had a delightful Sunday school lesson, with a lot of class participation and even some joking around. She was eager to attend the worship service also.
As we were leaving, I noticed that the red cars were gone. Where those two cars had been parked, there were two white cars. The make and model were different, but they were in the same parking spaces. I joked with my wife, saying that the red cars had become white cars. She was not in a joking mood. She had pushed herself past her limit and she needed to lie down and nap.
But the thought stayed with me, Isaiah 1:18 talks of scarlet becoming white like snow and crimson like wool. That verse kept pounding inside my head.
Sure, with the car makes and models being different and nearly three hours difference in when we parked and when we left, the red cars had gone to the early service and left. One of our friends was already in one of the cars ready to leave, probably walked out during the last hymn, but his wife stayed to the end and she was driving. Then the two white cars parked in the same spots, not even knowing that a red car had parked there before. The people with the white cars went to the second service.
But having my sins washed away so that I could be clean as fresh fallen snow… That was in my mind.
God talks to us in many different ways. Sometimes my parents would say that I had just fallen down one of my weird rabbit holes and no one on the face of the earth would see it as I saw it, but maybe that message was only meant for me to see, and then talk about.
Look for the ways that God speaks to you. Notice that God let a “circumstance” of red cars and then white cars remind me of a Bible verse. It was no great oracle of God taking His finger and writing the Ten Commandments on the stones outside the church and handing them to me. No. God’s primary method of speaking is through His Holy Word, the Bible, but how He gets our attention to remember a verse that we have often quoted, now anything is possible.
In the four-parking space group where only two cars were parked, the visual would have been ruined if there had been a third car in an empty spot, a car of any other color. And that applies when we got there or when we left. But God had that message for me.
And what does that mean for you, the reader? If I interpreted that, I might lead you in the wrong direction. That is what God intends for you, but if we know that God sent His only Son to die so that we could have our sins washed away, the scarlet washed so that we become as white as snow…
God is real. God is alive. God works within us, and God works within others to let us know that He is active in our life.
God is good, all the time.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.