"Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin."
I often wash our children's sneakers and footwear on the gentle cycle of our washing machine. It cleans and freshens up the shoes, and they look like new. We don't have to replace their shoes as often because we try to take good care of them. "Shoe Stewardship" as we call it.
Recently, after a day at the park (after a full day of rain the day before) with Gabrielle's class for an end-of-the-school-year picnic, our flip flops and sandals were filthy. The mud and wet playground mulch had seeped deep into the porous material of our footwear. When we got home, I put our footwear in the washing machine on the delicate cycle with some other delicate items.
When the delicate load of laundry was complete, I opened up the washer to hang the clothes and to put the shoes out in the sun for drying. As I pulled out our footwear, I was surprised that they were still dirty. The delicate cycle was not strong enough to do the deep cleaning they needed. I put the shoes back in the washer (in a laundry bag) with a heavy duty load, which included high agitation, high spin and an extra rinse. After the heavy duty load was complete, our footwear came out clean!
I felt God whisper to my heart as I stood in the laundry room finishing up the day's laundry. "Sometimes, Sharon, I need to run the heavy duty cycle on your heart to get out the dirt that has seeped in." Recently, I had been through some "heavy-duty cycles with high agitation, high spin and an extra rinse" of my heart. The heavy-duty agitation I experienced and the high spin and extra rinse were just what my heart needed at the time. It wasn't comfortable; it was downright painful at times. But I knew God was doing a necessary work in my heart.
He met me personally in our laundry room. The powerful wash and extra rinse by the Living Water through the water of His Word was just what I needed to shine more brightly for His glory and purposes. While I'd often prefer to keep my heart on "The Delicate Cycle" for cleansing, I fully realize that any significant growth in my walk with the Lord would not occur with out the deep cleaning my heart needs at times. And as only our amazing God can do, He is gentle with us even during the heavy-duty cycles of life. He rules over the surging seas. He stills them with a whisper. "And after the fire came a gentle whisper." 1 Kings 19:12
"O, LORD God Almighty, who is like You? You are might, O LORD, and Your faithfulness surrounds you. You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, You still them."
"I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify them and refine them like gold and silver."