By Myrna Brito
“For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.” Ephesians 5:25-27 (NLT)
Little known fact about me is that I set a weekly goal to wash all our clothes by Sunday night so that I can start the work week with empty hampers. Happy to report that most weeks I make the goal. I was doing laundry a while back and had a God moment. I began to think about the wash cycle and its parallel to growth in walking with the Lord.
I thought about how the wash cycle is very much like when I position myself to ask God to deal with areas of my life. The initial part of the wash cycle is good, getting soaked in God’s presence and spending time in prayer. However, there is a part of the wash cycle where there is some agitation, where the dirt comes off. This is where being in God’s word shows me the areas that I need to rub off the dirt and sin in my life. Most of the time, this comes off easily because the water is doing most of the work.
Then comes the spin cycle. This is the part of the wash cycle where sometimes, if the machine is overloaded, it begins to shake, especially when there is a big load, like towels. In this case, the load becomes unbalanced, and there is terrible noise and shaking. This reminds me of the big areas in my life that I ask God to purify and help me deal with. Although, it feels like the shaking is a bit violent, the spin cycle is making sure all the dirt leaves, and that the dirty water leaves with it.
Next comes the rinse cycle. The water returns to do another rinse through, and this time, the agitation is not quite as violent. This reminds me that often it is necessary to go back and dig a little deeper to ensure that all the dirt has come off.
The last spin cycle comes, and this time the spinning pulls out most of the water and leaves the garment wrinkled and damp. Most of the time, we can recognize the garment, even though it seems to have gone through all the cycles that took it from dry and dirty, to wet and agitated; and then, finally, after that final spin, the garment emerges clean. When something goes in particularly dirty, sometimes I need to re-wash. Think about that for a moment.
In our hamper at home, it is often the same clothes going through the wash, because as we go out and live, our clothes get dirty and need the attention of all the cycles of the washing machine. The same is true for those areas of my life that I need to continue to bring to God. The wash cycle of presenting myself to the Lord, and allowing the water of his word to wash away those mindsets, thoughts and anxieties that I have picked up in my daily living. Then the spin cycle. This is a time to reflect on all those things that God is pulling away to ensure that all the dirt is really gone. The final rinse and spin cycle ensure that I continue to remain in the word and that I am presenting myself to the Lord for direction and guidance.
As a parting thought, it is necessary to go through the entire cycle for the Lord’s work to be complete in us. If at any point with my front loader machine I decide to interrupt the wash cycle, there will be a bigger mess to clean up caused by dirty, soapy water spilling out of the machine. In the same way, I make a bigger mess when I try to interrupt God’s work in my life. It’s best to allow the full cycle to run its course.
I pray that you allow God to wash away, rinse and squeeze out all that keeps you from being in his presence and fulfilling his purpose for your life.
What cycle are you in?