Oh, Lord, the sun is shining through our big, beautiful, and CLEAN front window in Flintstone, Georgia, and I feel hope. The house has just been pressure washed. And I’m delighted with the result. All the mold and moss, all the green and black stuff—whatever it was—is gone.
The outside of the house sparkles. And it smells. Like bleach.
I find this very humorous because all day yesterday at my father’s house in Atlanta I smelled the familiar and sweet scent of manure. Yes, horse manure. The smell I grew up with. But this time it wasn’t emanating from the barn behind my father’s house, but from the neighbors’ yard which is being completely redone.
But today, bleach. And it worked. I’d wanted the house to be washed for quite a while as I noticed the stains. I am a little in awe that it worked! In less than an hour, it was all done. By professionals. So often I try to get by without paying the money for professionals. Without ‘outsourcing’, as my son calls it.
But today, we paid, and I am thrilled. Even our little Eastern bluebird who is building a nest on the back deck seems okay. She stayed in the little birdhouse, and hopefully she will be content to keep coming back. (editor’s note; she has!=)
I know there are many spiritual analogies to this pressure washing theme. The first, of course, is that Jesus warns not to just clean the outside. Oh, yes, some of Your harshest words are to the ‘white-washed tombs’.
But what I’m thinking about is another analogy. How I cannot clean my own house, my own soul-house. I have to ‘outsource it’ to You, Lord. And when I do, the effect is immediate. You pressure wash my soul, a hard, eternal blast of whiter-than-snow bleach. You clean every part of me with that initial salvation pressure wash.
But boy, do I need to outsource the cleaning on a very regular basis. I need deep spring cleaning. Again and Again and Again. And I can never, ever, do it on my own. That will not work.
When the man came to pressure wash the house this morning, he warned, “We use bleach, so please don’t come outside while we’re working.” In other words, don’t get in the way of the professionals. Let them do their hard work, and then we can enjoy the beauty of it later.
Lord, I think I get in the way of Your work rather often. I try to help You along. I step outside with excuses or rescuing or shame when You are trying to strip it all away with Your Spirit’s blast. It can be harsh and hard, and it can hurt. Oh, yes. Confession hurts. Sanctification hurts. And of course, I have to take the initial step of ‘hiring’ You to clean me out.
But then, I must let You do it. I can’t clean myself, Lord. As my precious mother-in-law says, “Duh.” That’s the whole point of the Gospel. “For God so loved the world that He gave…”
You do the hard work, the blasting off of the sin. Then, and only after this, do I do the hard work of accepting Your grace, trusting that what You have done is enough. And walking in that cleanliness with confidence.
It’s like so much else in the Christian life, isn’t it, Lord? So many paradoxes. Yes, You clean us with one harsh and wonderful blast of salvation. And yes, I have to keep coming back to be cleaned again. Not for salvation, but for sanctification. For the daily doing of life.
And sometimes, that’s where I get tripped up. I fall back to trying to figure it out on my own, at worst, or at best, trying to help You along. Instead of accepting that You are God, and I am not and never the twain shall meet.
Except that we do. Another paradox. Somehow, after that first forceful blast, You live inside me. And we meet day after day after day. So that yes, I ‘outsource’ my help from above, and yet, I have the ‘outsourced help’ inside.
I love Your mystery. I love how You so often helped humans see Your truth by using analogies and parables.
So dear Savior and Lord, come again today and pressure-wash my soul for Your glory.
ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog.