How can cleaning a bathroom bring me to thoughts about the omnipotent, sovereign God and my free will? Well, it went something like this…I found myself cleaning with the usual “tools”. Cleaner and mop in hand, hurriedly moving to get this over with, I did the usual. The kids bathroom always requires a little more, it seems. But the mop didn’t quite reach that little edge, that little corner was mocking my efforts. So on hands and knees, toothbrush and elbow grease, I tackled it. Once I started down there, I could see that there were more areas that needed that extra attention and concentrated effort. That edge all around the baseboards…anyway, scrubbing away I went. It’s such a tiny space, you’d think I could have seen it from 5’4″. My new vantage point brought insight and revealed the truth. A few feet made a big difference.
My mind went to the “little” things in life that need extra “effort” (I say this tongue in cheek, because I know they aren’t really MY efforts and they are definitely not little). God calls us to some pretty radical things. It seems radical in a culture that is so protective of self. It’so easy to let outcomes determine actions. Actions like witholding love and forgiveness, being selfish and guarded are just the norm. It’s clear that I’m called to forgive, to love others, to trust God. Those words are such deep wells, aren’t they? From a distant place, I nod my head in some nonchalant compliance. Sure. No problem. I can do that. But when I’m down in it, close up, face to face with the ugly, being misunderstood, I “naturally” react against those deep wells. I liked the shallow view better, didn’t I? Now forgiving doesn’t seem that easy. Loving seems hard. I’m down here on my hands and knees seeing the ugly truth of my ineptness and frankly, it’s shocking and humiliating and…I could go on. I will myself to stand up, forget what I saw, let myself off the hook. But, He intervenes (His sovereign grace), my knees feel weighted and anchored to the floor. I know I don’t posses what I need to do “this”. God does (His omnipotence revealed). And here we go again, entering that never ending mental cycle of knowing that it’s God that empowers me to do the things He asks of me, if I choose His way(I sense my free will at war). His sovereignty and omnipotence can somehow intersect with my will. It shakes me to the core. What mirrors this kind of interaction? I envision the wave of salt water meeting the shore, so rhythmic and bold. It’s entrances me, melts me as I see it and feel it. I’m flailing to grasp the weight of it. I can’t explain it, can I? The powerful, majestic, beautiful movement with unfettered force hits the coast…and changes it, moves it and brings it to life, to new form. I envy the tiny particles of sand, in utter helplessness, moving where the water takes them, happy in surrender, yielded to the mysterious journey of another. Purposeful in peace.
Sonya: great insight from a simple task. Those are always the best sermon illustrations! Maybe you and Dave can write a song about it. It would have a great hook! We thank the Lord for you folks and pray for you often.