Create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me.~Psalm 51:10 CSB
Clean up hurts sometimes.
We are entering year six of building our home. One weekend, I removed nails from tung-and-groove boards, which we had salvaged from an old church building. After the nails were gone, I started the clean-up process by running the boards through the planer. Thick layers of varnish and fifty-year-old paint peeled off, revealing the beautiful pine underneath.
As I stuck the last board in the spinning wheels of the planer, my thumb caught a large splinter sticking out of the side of the wood. It sliced my skin and left a long sliver stuck inside my thumb. I let the board finish planing and went inside to clean and sanitize my new wound.
When the soap hit the hole, the pain showed up. My knee-jerk response was to quit washing it and make the pain stop, but then the reality of infection came to mind. If I don’t thoroughly wash this wound and make sure the whole splinter is out, I risk my skin growing around this foreign object and my hand reaping the consequences, instead of just this little spot.
Cleaning up this wood is a huge task. Removing layers of paint and varnish to restore the wood to its natural beauty is time-consuming. After the nails are pulled, the wood is planed and then begins the sanding process. All the edges where paint was lathered must be given the appropriate attention. I’ve had several injuries in the clean-up process—splinters, smashed fingers, bruises, bumps on the head, nail pokes, squished toes—but every painful piece was worth it once I saw the wood on the ceiling in our new house.
Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds.~Hosea 6:1 NLT
The restoration process in a believer’s life is also a huge task. Removing layers of hurt, shame, pain, and guilt to reveal our true heart of Christ-given beauty is tough. Our rough, protective edges must be sanded down with forgiveness and repentance. Other stuff gunks up the edges too—bitterness, loneliness, rejection, grief—which makes sanding more difficult at times.
The pain from this process is intense, often resulting in job change, loss of friendships, or eradication of a habit or bad behavior. But, once we deal with the painful parts, we experience hope, joy, peace, love, acceptance, and redemption. No more deep splinters of sin creating infection, but instead, washed out wounds, healed back to wholeness through the powerful grace of Jesus.
Friend, do you feel that nudge to start peeling back the layers? Does it seem like falling apart is eminent? Are you worried about what you will lose? Don’t be afraid. The pain is temporary, but the freedom Jesus can help you walk in, if you let him do the cleaning up, is worth every ounce of pain. Do it, before the infection gets too deep.
What areas need some cleaning up in your life?
Father God, please show me the infected places in my life. Give me a willingness to do the hard work and clean up the sin that has made the infection fester. Restore me to full spiritual health. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Copyright 2022: Clean Up Hurts: Christy Bass Adams: All Rights Reserved