“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?