Originally written for my site in 2004.
Sometimes things in life don’t always go the way we would plan them. However, I have chosen to try to make the best of any situation, by seeking out the Lord to discover if there is perhaps a lesson the Lord is trying to teach me.
Recently I had taken a trip on an airplane for a speaking engagement. One of the things I use in my talk is a Supermom apron with lots of pockets, which I fill with different items that aid my talk. I have items like a plastic frog, a picture of my last baby at his birth, bubble bath, a squirt gun, a diaper, and liquid laundry soap.
Upon checking into my hotel room, with about 30 minutes to prepare myself for my first talk, I discovered the laundry soap had leaked out, spilling onto many of my clothes. It also created a red dye that stained many of my clothes too. Frantically I cleaned the apron in the little sink. Attempting to dry it with the hair dryer was futile. Almost in a panic state, I rinsed out some of the clothes, leaving the rest to simply dry. Fortunately the church where I was speaking had a dryer so I was able to get my apron dried in time for my talk.
I still had three travel days left, and was a bit beside myself about what clothes I could wear. The following morning as I was getting dressed, I realized the undergarment I needed had not been rinsed out, but was dry. It took me awhile to figure out that something was very wrong. I assumed that I had been sitting too much, which had created the pain I seemed to be feeling on my “sitter.” I didn’t investigate the cause of my discomfort; I simply tried to ignore it.
The following morning I realized I had developed a serious chemical burn, obviously from the large concentration of liquid laundry soap that had penetrated my undergarment. I still had an entire day of sitting while waiting in airports and sitting on my flights home. There was no way to find some place to get some kind of medication to apply to my burn.
On the shuttle ride to the first airport I began to ponder my pain. I tried sitting delicately, which is a near impossibility. There was nothing to do but try to find something redeeming in my pain.
I began to think about the laundry soap like sin. It can so easily penetrate and after sinning, we can sometimes not see the effects of the sin. Even though we know the sin is there, we will often try to hide it, much like feeling like no one would know if I simply put my clothes on over the large stain. We may be able to hide from our sin for a long time even. But then one day, suddenly, we discover there is great pain associated with our sin. When we try to hide and bury our sin, it sits and festers, burning into our very souls.
There comes a time, when we must come clean. With sin, that means we must repent and make amends for the sin we have committed. Even though I cleaned up as best I could, soaking in a tub for quite awhile, I still had much pain. There was no way to undo what I had already done. That is the same with sin. We will be forgiven, but we cannot undo the effects of the sin. It has been allowed to fester, and is now forcing us to deal with the consequences of the sin.
Sometimes when we sin, we don’t get to the very root of the problem; we simply apply a salve to help erase the pain. But it still doesn’t help; it’s only a temporary problem.
After we repent, we know we have been forgiven, yet we must deal with the pain of the consequences for quite awhile.
The pain I’ve been dealing with has shown me how much I take for granted, like walking without pain, and sitting. Even though several days have passed, the pain is perhaps even more painful now that I have cuts from skin drying out. It is also like that with sin. Sometimes the initial pain of the sin isn’t as bad as when it has had a chance to fester in our heart. When we are making our choices in life, we often take for granted the fellowship of the Holy Spirit in a pure heart.
Sitting with my pain has prompted me to ask the Lord if there be anything in my heart which has grieved Him. Oh repentance, the healing balm of our hearts!