Dirty dishes in the sink, dirty laundry in the hamper, dirty floors throughout the house, and no shower yet. Perfect time to sit with the Lord and coffee. A Puerto Rican blend microwaved enough times to illuminate a cul-de-sac at midnight. But with thoughts that seemed darker, a heart that felt dirtier, and a soul too heavy to lift a plate, shirt, or mop, I sat before the Lord and sighed…unmotivated to do anything.
My memories spun like a movie projector replaying the previous day, which was attached to the previous week, which rewound thoughts about past problems, which dragged in a chain reaction of mistakes made, wrong roads travelled and regrettable words spoken. Remorse filled my heart while tears filled my eyes and sorrow splashed out everywhere. Martin Lloyd Jones called these “vain regrets” and I knew better…but I still allowed my thoughts to lead me to the dead-end of discouragement.
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). He said this to those who mourned over their sin. Familiar tenderness spoke kind words to my heart, “Why are you looking at past snake bites? Why are you replaying the actions and words that invited fiery fangs to penetrate your flesh? Why are you rehearsing the pain of the poison that used to sicken and cripple you, and caused you nearly to die? Do not rehearse the failures of your self-help remedies and cures. Have you so quickly forgotten how easily you were healed by Me and your life preserved?”
The story of the Israelites in the wilderness in Numbers 21:4-9 came to mind. Because of their sin, they wandered in the wilderness for forty years. Because of their sin, only their children could enter the promised land. Because of their sin, they were bit by fiery, deadly snakes and multitudes died. But when they cried out and asked for prayer, the Lord sent them a life preserving remedy if they got bit. They only had to look OFF of their wounds, stop staring at the places their sin brought the bites, and let go of their attempts to preserve their own life. They had to let go of all pride, and in humility look to God’s method of healing.
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:14-15
I lifted the eyes of my heart off of past sins, mistakes, prideful self-efforts, and disastrous decisions and looked at Jesus. The One Who loved this bite-covered creature and laid down His life on a tree so that all I had to do was to look to Him by faith for salvation. And as I sipped my coffee and gazed at Him, walked slowly through His Word and meditated on the Psalms, my thoughts were flooded with light, my heart infused with grace, and merciful joy came to my discouraged soul.
And then…I found the mop.