You know the story … “when things go wrong, things go wrong”. Jenny comes in from the laundry room saying the washing machines does not want to work. I go and check it out and nothing I do–whether it’s pressing buttons, changing plug points, running a lead from the kitchen, checking the main distribution board–gets the washing machine to work.
We all know how important a washing machine is when it comes to laundry. I recall the early years of marriage some fifty years ago (just two months short) when my weekly task was the laundry. Being in a trade, my hands used to get rather dirty and one way to clean it was to do the laundry by hand as we did not have a washing machine. I would load the laundry into the bath, run the water, add the washing powder, get undressed and hop into the bath and first wash and then rinse all the laundry. This softened my hands, and if there was any dirt left I could scrub my hands clean very easily. After a few years we were able to purchase a washing machine which made life very easy.
Now our washing machine does not work. It is dead as in dead! Reluctantly I googled washing machines and saw one similar to ours. Yes … you’re right … what a fright … and to spend so much money just before Christmas! I prayed about this and felt I needed to visit the laundry room again and give it another try.
The plug was put back into the same wall socket as before and switched on. Then as I pressed the “start / on / off” button a light flickered and went off. I did this a few times and then thought … why not press the “start / on / off” button, hold it down and then press the “power / pause” button to see it if would work. Strangely, as I pressed and held in the “start / on / off” button down, all the lights came on and when I pressed the “power / pause” button, the washing machine started and went through the complete washing cycle and has worked ever since.
What happened that it would not work and what happened that it started working again I don’t know, but what I do know is that I did not have to spend a huge amount of money on a new washing machine. Praise the Lord!
This morning we had an early start because our first appointment was with the hairdresser at 8.30am. Jen asked me what I would like ironed and I gave her the pair of shorts and shirt I wanted to use. Soon thereafter, I heard her mumbling and went to see what the problem was. The iron decided to mess around. This was a long time coming and apart from automatic temperature changes, it was discharging sediment and marked the shorts so much that it became a laundry job. On our journey after having our hair cuts, we slipped into Clicks to look at irons. They had a few ranging from quite cheap to rather expensive … and then we saw one on special. It was marked down from R499 to R299. That was our Christmas box!
There are times when it is worth trying to repair household items and there are times when you need to dump and replace. We got the washing machine going but it’s just not worth messing with the iron. It’s strange how two household items so related gave problems in the space of two days. The one cleans the clothing and the other prepares it for use.
Within the spiritual realm of God’s Kingdom, nothing is discarded because nothing becomes useless and unserviceable. A Christian never has a “good / great” day every day. The reason for this is we, even though saved by grace through faith, are still sinners … saved sinners … and even though the enemy is no longer our master (Eph 2:1-9), we are harassed and tempted and shoved around spiritually … mostly without even looking for it. Each time we fall to temptation and sin, we are not written off by our new Master (the Lord Jesus). He does not dump and replace us. He will not let us go. Remember, He, at great expense purchased our souls at Calvary.
When you think through the Incarnation (God taking on our flesh), being scorned and ridiculed when ministering and finally executed in the most gruesome and horrific manner as our substitute to appease the wrath of God … and once securing our souls, blood purchased and redeemed … and once the Spirit birthed us into God’s eternal family (Kingdom) … nothing … absolutely nothing will cause us to be “dumped and replaced” like that iron. No … we are like that washing machine … we can be restored when we don’t work as well spiritually!
Take the account of the young prodigal in Luke 15:11-32! He was the younger son of his father. Both brothers were of the some blood line. They were their father’s sons. For whatever reason the younger decides to separate himself from the family requesting his inheritance prematurely. He loses his moral compass and lands up caring for pigs after wasting his inheritance (v16). The great news is that he comes to his senses (v17) and returns to his father offering to be a servant (v19). You get the picture dad was praying and waiting and watching … and then this son was returning. Dad saw him in the distance (v2) … “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” There was repentance and … celebration … because
Lk 15:24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found
(The older brother’s response is for another day.) The father did not write him off. The father never stopped loving and looking and longing. The word “compassion” in verse 20 is the same word Jesus used in Matthew 9:36 as He gazed upon the crowds. They were … “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” … for they were “dead” and “lost” like this son who had lost his spiritual direction, losing all morals and ethics … yet his father received him back as “alive” and “found”. Humanly speaking, if anyone ought to have been rejected … dumped and replaced, it was this younger brother. Spiritually, this is true of each believer. Think of what we were before salvation. Think of how often our sin frustrates us spiritually … but our Father never rejects, dumps and replaces us. When there is acknowledgment of sin leading to repentance through faith He receives us back as “alive” and “found”.
O God of Compassion and Grace, You who alone are the Merciful One, thank You that You never discard Your people. Thank You that You always bring us back to Yourself when we confess sin and repent. Lord, we don’t deserve such mercy. Thank You that You treat us as You do through Jesus Christ. Amen.