Friday, August 08, 2008

Lessons from the Basement

Because enough people have asked me about my anniversary, I feel as though I've already written a blog post about it. And since I've written it out so many times in emails, I figured I may as well write about it here, too.
This is what happened:
We have rental houses, and one of them needed to be cleaned out. Since we're going away this weekend, last night was really the only time we had to do it - so that was to be our Anniversary "date."
Brian had to repair some windows and asked me to clean out the basement. OK, I thought, I can do that.
I had brought rubber gloves and felt a little prissy putting them on to clean out the basement, but when I got down there and saw the task before me, I was so glad I had something to put on my hands! Several times in the cleaning process I remembered it was only a thin layer of latex between my hands and the gunk, but I was glad for the barrier - no matter how small.
As I stood there in the smelly, dark basement, disgusted by the slime and sludge, I began to pray. Lord, I know there has got to be a lesson in here for me somewhere. I'm not sure what it is, but if there's something for me to see, please show me.
Sometimes the Lord responds to my requests slowly, and sometimes He's fast. Always, His timing is perfect.
Well last night, He was responding immediately.
I was peeling piles of wet, slimy cardboard off the floor, trying to hold my breath and not pass out, and was overwhelmed by the smell and disgust of the whole thing. In that moment it occurred to me that my sin is more repulsive to God than the basement in which I was standing was sickening to me.
I didn't want to be in that basement. It was dark. I only had a flash light and a little daylight trickling down the steps to help me know what I was touching. It smelled bad. It was dirty. Yuck!
But my sin! God cannot dwell with it. He is holy. He is perfectly pure. He cannot be in the presence of sin. My sin is more than repulsive to God. And being in the midst of sludge in the basement drove that point home to me.

Then, as I considered my reluctant willingness to clean the mess in the basement - and as I faced the reality that after my hard work the basement was still going to be dirty - God brought the lesson full circle.
He reminded me that, although my sin is repulsive, He willingly - without a trace of reluctance - cleans it up. He has cleansed me fully by the blood of Jesus. And I am clean now, as white as snow.
Jesus' death on the cross was sufficient to completely forgive my sins and yours. There is no sludge or slime we can produce which cannot be covered by the blood of the Lamb. His sacrifice was enough!

That realization - though it didn't make the basement less smelly - drew me closer to God, fixed my perspective, and helped my press on to the end of the job. And it reminded me, just as HE runs? HE also cleans basements!

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JanMary said...

I am continually amazed at how you can share your faith through no matter what task you involved in!

You inspire me :)

luvmy4sons said...

Yes...if only we could grasp our ugliness before Him and how awesome He cleans up the mess for us! Amen sister. Amen. Great stuff!

MoziEsmé said...

What a beautiful (if smelly) analogy! It is awesome to know that all my sludge is covered by His awesomeness!

Though I still don't envy your anniversary celebration . . .:)

mamajil said...

Great Analogy!!! and Happy Anniversary....

Kathie Thomas said...

I love how God uses ordinary every day events (and not so every day) to teach us more about His love and grace for us. Thanks for sharing.

Nancy said...

What a wonderful lesson for us all. I love the thought of you talking to God in the midst of the dark disgusting basement and His reaching down to you in that place. He is so faithful.


Amanda said...

This in one of the best descriptions of the disgustingness of our sin that I have ever read.

Thank you for teaching me this lesson as well!

God bless-