|(*This is not my Laundry room. I rather wish it was, however)|
I have a feeling that this is rather odd, but laundry rooms have become a special place for me. It started when I was a student at Ellerslie; nearly all of my study and prayer time (and the occasional emotional breakdown) took place in the laundry room on the first floor of the 300 (Elliot) wing. At first, this was because there simply wasn't another place that was secluded and warm enough (I was there October-December) to study. But it soon became the ideal place to meet with the Lover of souls. The laundry room here at home is becoming just as special.
Today, as I sat upon the washing machine, I felt particularly in need of the soothing touch of my Father. I freely admit that my heart, except for the Spirit's breath, is filled only with cowardice, uncertainty, trepidation, and the dreadful darkness of sin. I need much affirmation, and much reassurance --of the sort that only Jesus can provide; words from earth generally only increase my agony.
Can you remember being a very little child? For those of us who weren't perfect children, I imagine that there were times when our mothers or fathers would tell us to keep away from something, so as to avoid injury. And before we knew it, something along the lines of, "I promise I won't get hurt. I can handle that," rolled haughtily off our tongues. But, when we went ahead and did 'that', we found that it caused a nasty injury after all. And, do you know, the fact that we were warned makes the ache twice as deep. It adds guilt to injury. And, perhaps, it may keep us from running to the only one who can help --our parents. They are the ones that have what we need: correction, a loving hug, and the things our wounds need for healing. But we wait for as long as we possibly can endure the pain, because we know that rejection, or anger, from the ones we need most are more terrible than the pain we already feel.
This is quite how I felt this morning. The Lord had warned me of the trap, and I stuck my foot in it anyway. I had promised the Lord that "this" wouldn't happen, and that I would never do "that" again --and all my promises had been blown away by the gentlest winds of opposition. My guilt was far worse than the pain of the wrong itself. So, just like a child with an injury, I stumbled miserably up to the Throne of Grace, full of shame and guilt from failures, all the while knowing that healing existed no where else...and fearful that it wouldn't be granted to one so unworthy.
Do you know how He greeted me? With this...
"Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O LORD. Lord, hear my voice; let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If Thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee, that thou mayest be feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in His word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning; I say, more than they that watch for the morning. Let Israel hope in the LORD; for with the LORD there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption. And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities." Psalm 130
As time passes, I find that my promises to Him aren't reliable. It's His promises to me that I can build things on. I am full of weakness, and cowardice, and inability; my very best intentions will always fail. He is the One who cannot lie. He is the One with strength. He is the One who offers freedom and victory --only Him.
Guilt will whisper lies. "You're not yet sorry enough," "No one else could have possibly stumbled the way you did," "He cannot forgive such willful sin." But these whisperings are just that --lies. There is no help to be found in guilt. Guilt cannot free my soul from the tyranny of sin. Guilt has no power to overcome. I cannot ever "feel bad enough" for my sin to finally be rid of it. Only the death of my body on the Cross of Christ can avail for the freedom of my soul. Guilt must be put off, if Jesus is to reign.
Oh Abba, I pray that you would banish guilt forever from our souls, and instead deposit within these hearts the holy hatred for sin that beats within Your own chest! May our loathing for our darkness come not from looking despairingly within, but from looking fearfully --reverentially, adoringly, worshipfully-- upward!