"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
When our children were younger and all living at home, we used to love to escape during the cold month of December and spend Christmas vacation in the heat of southern Florida.
One Christmas many years ago, one of Ken's clients blessed our family by giving us a week vacation at her brand new condo in Naples, Florida. She wanted us to be the very first guests to use her new vacation home, and we were extremely grateful for her generosity.
My excitement quickly turned into anxiety as we opened the door leading into the brand new condominium and found all white carpeting, all new furniture, glass tables, numerous crystal centerpieces, etc. I immediately shut the door and prohibited my then 12, 9, and 6 year-old from entering the house until we had a mandatory family meeting, which was promptly held in the garage. I intensely stressed the fine art of treating things with proper respect and ultimate care, especially since this was not our home.
All was going extremely well until the second to last day before we were scheduled to leave. The weather had been beautiful up until that point but a cold front suddenly hit. and the temperatures were dropping into the 40s at night. As a result, my oldest son asked if he could use an extra red blanket that he found draped across one of the numerous bright white beds as he stayed up to watch television. Since it was on display, especially on a white bed, I saw no need to be concerned, and I even went to retrieve it and tossed it over him. Snug as a bug, Josh fell asleep on the new beige couch watching a movie. Looking so incredibly comfortable, we followed the advice of "let sleeping children lie" and left him there for the night.
The next morning, I woke up to a panicked scream of "MOM, COME HERE!" I ran as fast as I could, only to find Josh staring and pointing at the couch he had slept on. "Look what happened!" To the horror of both of us, the brand new beige couch was now partially stained red! The heat of his body had caused the dye from the imported blanket to bleed into the couch's fabric.
I remember standing in a state of shock and wondering how I could be having such a vivid nightmare! As the reality became apparent, I started brainstorming possible solutions. Josh quickly jumped into his "Destination Imagination" creative problem solving training and flipped all of the cushions over, thus disguising all of the stains! However, Ken and I suggested a more honest approach and called an upholster cleaner, who just happened to be available before we were scheduled to leave. With great anticipation, we watched the upholstery cleaner start up his machine, and we all cheered and rejoiced as we watched the stain removal and the beige color return once again!
When everything had returned to normal and the drama had subsided, I couldn't help but think of the Scripture verse found in Isaiah 1:18, "Though your sins shall be as red as crimson, they will be washed whiter than snow." Sin is ugly and distorts beauty. Sometimes we can kid ourselves into thinking that we can hide or disguise it, but just as the upholstery cleaner was needed to remove the awful red stain, we need Jesus to remove the ugly stains and consequences of our sins.
During this extremely unique Lenten Season, may you use this additional time at home reading His Word and focusing on Jesus' tremendous love for you. He loves you so much that He was willing to die on the cross to take away each of our ugly stains left from our sins.
Have a wonderful week rejoicing in the gift of forgiveness,