This morning, I was desperate to hear God. I needed to be forgiven and to forgive others after the events of the weekend. I wasn't passing all the blame – I knew I had been wrong. But I was consumed by the fact that I had been wronged as well. I was hurting.
This started a few weeks back when my personal prayer and devotion time dried up into a desert experience. It only took one day to skip it. Then another. And another. This continued for about 2 weeks.
My lack of personal time with God made it clear that I was not right yesterday. I was not connected to God and communicating with him, therefore the words that I said were unnecessary and offensive in themselves. What scared me was the fact that I didn't even realize how wrong I was until AFTER the words left my mouth and were hanging in the air like the mushroom cloud after an atomic bomb. I didn't have a filter or a mental warning light before I spoke those words. After I saw the reactions, I realized I had stepped out on my own and left a great divide between me and my family.
I went to bed early last night; partly because I was tired, but mostly because I was avoiding talking to God. I realized as I tried to pray before I left for work this morning that I really should do my devotions. Maybe God would speak to me through the book I had been working through for 2 months (yet, I’m only on Day 17). I was hopeful that something profound would ease the painful memories of all the events that transpired.
The devotions led me to these verses...
Proverbs 30:7-9 O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.
The author prays for God to not give him too much, too little, and please just give enough for today. All those prayers are well and good, but it totally did not address my issue. As part of this study, I write out prayers that Praise, Repent of my sins, Acknowledge that God is in charge and submit my will to Him, pray for others (intercession), pray for myself (supplication), and finally pray for God to Equip me (PRAISE). Today, I asked God to please forgive me for my words, let me know if I should apologize, and prayed for those that hurt me by their actions.
Afterwards, I felt a little better. Any time with God in prayer and reading His Word is better than none. But I kept praying as I drove to work and even turned off the radio so I could focus on my words to Him. About halfway through my commute, I suddenly had an idea to get my car washed. Since I was visiting family over the weekend, my car was covered in a thick layer of road sludge (salt and dirt). I debated about waiting to run this errand at lunch or after work. But the reality is that I will be tempted to skip the errand and wait until another day, so I took the time to get it done before work.
As I drove away feeling refreshed in my super-clean car, I realized that all the dirt from the weekend was gone. It was washed away. Good as new. Just as quickly, I realized God does that for my soul too! All that was required of me is to make the choice to turn it over to Him. He is in the business of vacuuming, scrubbing, wiping, cleansing, and polishing me from the inside out. All I have to do is be willing for the transformation.
I guess my biggest lesson here is that God spoke to me, albeit unconventionally. It wasn't exactly through His Word, but He honored my obedience and spoke to me - through a car wash. I shouldn't be so hasty in thinking God was ignoring my request. He may have something way deeper and more insightful in mind than just following a routine and expecting the same results each time.
Psalms 51:7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.