“Wash away 2020!” The billboard caught my eye as I drove by. It was for a new car wash, one of those long-tunneled ones that you drive through, passing through each moment of the wash: first the wetting down, then the soaping up, the brushing and scrubbing, and finally the rinse. Then, one-by-one, the cars pull out sparkly clean.
It was genius advertising after the year of COVID. But for me, after fumbling through a week of misjudgments and ill-spoken words, it appealed to my here and now. I felt like I had mishandled a variety of situations and I didn’t know if I needed to take a vacation or to prostrate myself in prayer before the Lord or both.
What I did know is I desperately needed God’s washing, cleansing work in my life. I needed his “super soap” and his scrubbing bristles washing away the dirt, grime, and road weariness out of my soul. I needed to be renewed, to be able to approach life with fresh eyes and a fresh heart.
I could have let it go. I could have kept driving my car until my dirt-caked soul was so evident to the world that finally somebody was compelled to write “wash me” in my dust.
But I knew my polluted soul would only continue to wreak havoc in my relationships and work, tinging every interaction with grease and grunge. And by the grace of God, I was able to prod my soul, to remind myself of the calling of God on my life, as on all those who call themselves believers, to be salt and light in this world. Kings and priests lifting up holy hands, not grimy ones.
Maybe I could live with my dirt, but others needed what I could offer them -- words of life that could literally save their soul and rescue their marriage or their purpose or their hope.
And so I paused… and I bowed my head under the cleansing flood of God’s mercy and forgiveness.
Maybe I do need a vacation, but for now I will seek the Lord to wash my soul.
“… According to the multitude of your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sins.” (Psalm 51:1-2, NKJV)