On washday, despite all the modern conveniences available, some of us who do laundry still do not use a mechanical dryer. For one reason or another, we prefer to hang it out on a line to dry.
That is the end of a busy process. Before washing, we check the laundry over for spots, and where possible we treat them beforehand. We add detergent, sometimes bleach, to lift dirt and brighten the laundry. Then it is agitated to ensure that our clothing becomes as clean as possible.
When the wash cycle is complete, the laundry is then rinsed with clean, clear water. Sometimes a fabric softener is added. Finally, when all those cycles are completed, it is hung on the line to dry in the sun and air.
Recently, as I was sitting on the deck reading, I watched my laundry drying in the sunny breeze. It was under pressure from the heat of the sun and blowing winds. As a result, I could see that some of the clothing would not need much ironing, if any.
So, how much like laundry are we? Do we have spots and wrinkles that need treatment and ironing? I am not speaking of spots on the face and arms, or wrinkles and “laugh lines” that come to rest around the eyes—although it would be nice to be rid of some of those! Rather, the spots and wrinkles I am thinking of are those that reside in our hearts and minds—the ones God sees, and which are visible to those around us at times. God treats these—and He irons them out. How does He do this?
Christian women, like our laundry items, are often put under pressure. Our material is tested—what are we made of? How strong is it? Can it withstand washing after washing? Our stains are sin. How does God remove them and iron the wrinkles out? King David prayed and asked God to clean him up. “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according to the multitude of your tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:1–2). And again, “purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (v. 7). Our trials help us become spot free and wrinkle free.
Some of these trials are “short cycles” while some take a longer setting, depending on the amount of sin to be washed away.
During our wash cycle, God may use hyssop to clean us, to make us “whiter than snow.” These may be the truly difficult cycles there seems to be no end to. By prayer and fasting and meditation we see where we need to change our lives. We are washed with the precious blood of Jesus Christ to cleanse us of our sins. We know the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us and the suffering He went through for humankind. This makes our material strong enough to withstand the agitation of the wash cycle. When God sees we are ready, He rinses us with the clean spiritual water of His Holy Spirit.
Through trials, we are softened. We are more accepting of correction and see why trials are needed. The cycles being ended, God irons our wrinkles out. We are proved again by the lighter trials, where heat is applied to our lives. Our prayers are the sweet fragrance God accepts. These shorter cycles may not last as long, but are necessary. Just as we have a main goal, or focus, we have smaller goals to attain it, which keep our minds focused on that greater goal.
One day we will stand before God in our dress clothing: clean, spotless and wrinkle free. “And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. And he said to me, Write, Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God’” (Revelation 19:8–9). That is the purpose of the spot-treating, washing and ironing we are getting today.
That is the goal we look forward to. That is also the time God looks forward to—the day He can present that spotless bride to His Son, Jesus Christ.
So, ladies, think of that goal next time you do the laundry. Put another meaning, another purpose to it.