Monday, April 16, 2012

...In That Private Place - Warning: Gross Content May Be Offensive

“Sometimes interruptions save our lives.” –Pastor Mark Cowart 

Here’s a bit of an interruption in our series of thoughts, to bring you a message from our sponsor. 

I’ll caution you again now, though the title should have given you a heads up; this contains a gross analogy.

A seemingly minor event that occurred on Saturday was stopping for lunch. I wasn’t hungry, but I kept my husband in pleasant company while he ate. Across the room I noticed a man about my age, helping what might have been his mother, walk step by step toward the ladies room. He held her hands, walking backward in front of her. They stole my heart.

But, I challenged, he’s not going to want to go in with her. I approached them, asking if they’d like some help. He didn’t plan to go in with her, so I don’t know how she planned to make it through the ladies room to the handicapped stall by herself. As he let go of her hands, I took them and led her through the ladies room and into the larger stall in the back. She trusted me like I was her own daughter. Perhaps because she had no choice, but she didn’t seem to find my help odd, assistance was a necessity. I now entered her ‘private space’ and helped her with her private matters. She clearly had no bladder control, and wore a pad. She removed the soaked and smelly thing and handed it to me, like one would hand off a book to read. I disposed of it and continued to help her; I opened her purse and held it so she could get what she needed. I helped her get redressed and then to the sink to wash up, eventually turning her back over to her son, blessing them as we parted ways.

I couldn’t get the scenario out of my mind all weekend. As I pondered, I asked God why I couldn’t shake it, was there more to it? There certainly was. I caution you again; this is a very gross analogy.

Each step of the way had meaning.

Isaiah 64:6 tells us that our righteousness is as filthy rags before God. So, anything we do to achieve righteousness in or of ourselves, is as if we’re handing Him filthy rags. I’ve been taught that the phrase ‘filthy rags’ there refers to soiled feminine products. That’s pretty gross in my book – and that’s what our own righteousness looks like to God? No wonder we need grace!

I approached the woman, uninvited.
God approaches us, before we realize we have need of Him, long before we invite Him into our lives.

I offered my help. She couldn’t do this without assistance.
God offers His help. We can do anything without Him.

I took her into a private place.
God takes us to a private place.

I took her shameful, filthy ‘rag’ – which she handed me with no self-consciousness or hesitation, and permanently disposed of it.
God takes everything we give Him – our sin, our shame and our own self-righteousness, our worries, our doubts, our fears, our confusion. We need to give them to Him without hesitation, for only He can dispose of them permanently.

I helped her wash up.
God washes us clean, using His own blood to remove the stains of sin.

I led her back out into the restaurant after meeting her needs, returning her to her son, blessing them both.
God leads us back out to into the world, after meeting our needs in that private place where it’s just Him and us, forgiving our sin and empowering us to live, not as the world lives, but amidst this world and it’s sorrows and tribulations, with His blessings and assurance.

Though I left this lovely lady, God goes forever with us, always willing to go with us to our private places – and empowering us in our everyday lives.

Do you see additional points to ponder?


  1. I thought this was very good not offending at all. Any blood reminds me of Christ and comparing how clean we are to such a personal matter is honest and open. Without his atonement we would be so lost and never able to be clean. But thank the Lord for his goodness to us, His redemption. I hope when I come to him he sees me as clean as white as a bride wears. But even new brides need him for purity and wholeness forgiveness and grace. We can give him our filthy rags and he will replace them with pure and clean spotless garments.

  2. sharon burnheimer andersonApril 16, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    this really touched my heart... i see nothing wrong with it... like i said earlier... God had you write it and now i see why... dont ever feel that what you write is offensive... there is a reason for everything and for everything there is a season... thank you for sharing...

  3. So many times in our lives people offer to help us, and we turn them down or we say, "I'll let you know." What struck me about this lady is that she has received that point of grace where she knew, she absolutely knew that if she could do her part...get up and walk step by step to the restroom, that GOD would provide the help she needed. This is why there was no doubt, no hesitation, and no shame for her to hand you the filthy rags. (You were God's angel on this day). But my point to ponder is how much I would love my own faith to grow to the point where I would walk forward in complete trust that God would send his angel to meet me at the point where I absolutely could not do without. And I pray that I would show the utter faith and trust that this fine lady did.

  4. Thanks Helen. That was really a great way to look at the situation. =-) Love Tiffany.

  5. Powerful truths here, Helen. I love when God opens our spiritual eyes to the truths of His word. This story blesses me. I relate to having shameful rags and needing God's cleansing. I need His helping hand every day. Thanks for giving me the heads up about this post. This is a "moment" in your history where God made himself extra real. Thank you for helping this precious woman. You were God's hands and feet and His servant's heart.

  6. Thank you ladies, for taking the time to read and share your thoughts on the matter. It's definitely a personal point to ponder, but our God is a personal God Who seeks incredible intimacy with us. I love Him for pursueing me like no other. God bless you all!

  7. Helen, the beautiful truths and message you have taken from this incident are truly amazing. I am so inspired by the way you relate each part to how God relates to us. He can take absolutely anything and use it to say "hi" to us who are listening.
    Thank you and God bless!