A few nights ago I put a load of clothes in the washing machine. For some strange reason I decided to just sit there and watch the clothes wash. As I watched I noticed how the clean water became dirty as the cycle went on. Even though my clothes didn’t look that dirty, there was obviously more dirt in the clothes than my natural eyes could see. One thing that really caught my attention was how the clothes were tossing and turning, getting all bent out of shape, they were being slung around from side to side, they were being thrown up against the side of the washer, floating to the top, only to be pulled back down, etc. The process actually looked kind of painful!
And because I’d chosen to put the washing machine on “heavy”, this process got worse before it got better! But then the rinse cycle started (of course I had to close the lid). I sat and listened as the washing machine harshly sucked the water out of the clothes, so hard to the point where the clothes were stuck to the side of the machine. Just when I thought it was over, this process started all over again. And just like the clothes survive the first cycle, they did it again. But the most grueling part of this process came almost at the very end. The clothes still had to endure the spin cycle.
I listened as the machine spun ferociously, even shaking and rocking a little bit, while the water beat up on the clothes. But then when the cycle finally stopped and I pulled the clothes out, not only had they endured a process that from the outside looking in should had left the clothes in shreds, but they were fresh and clean. And even though they were wrinkled up, they came out better than they were when than they went in!
So how does this lesson from the washing machine apply to us? For a moment reflect over this past year. We’ve had the opportunity to celebrate many great moments! There were lots of wonderful memories created. However, with each high time we’ve been faced with just as much turmoil and tribulation.
But just like the clothes, God has allowed us to go through the washing machine process. He saw that there was and still is some stuff that needed to come out of us that we can’t see with our natural eyes. So the trials, the set backs, the failures, the mistakes, the falls, the turn arounds, the low times, the dry places, the moments of uncertainty, the points of despair, the disappointments, the heartaches, the heartbreaks, the losses, the walk outs, the upsets, and the straight up knock downs were all necessary.
What we thought was going to take us out, really and truly was all apart of the cleansing process. Those moments were painful, they were uncomfortable, but they were working for our good! They showed us areas about ourselves that we still have room to grow and improve! And some of us, every time we thought we’d endured the roughest part, here comes the spin cycle, putting us in a place in which we really wanted to tap out and give in. However, the fact that we are still here reminds us that we didn’t give up, and we didn’t give in! We found out that we are BETTER, we are BRAVER, we are STRONGER, and we are TOUGHER than we ever thought! God proved to us that we are indeed, BUILT TO LAST!
And even though we might have some wrinkles and we probably feel like we’ve been through a whirlwind, we are coming out better than we were when we went in! So as we kiss this year goodbye and embrace 2015, let all of that gunk wash down the drain of 2014. Don’t feel sorry for your self for what you had to endure this year. The only fact that matters is that you made it! We have one day left! So I encourage you to COUNT IT ALL JOY! This year gave much more than it has taken away! It’s all in how you look at it!
Before this year ends, be sure to thank God for the process. Thank God for how He has developed you. Thank God that He has shown you what fortitude looks like. And last but not least, thank God that in spite of it all, you are still going to have a STRONG FINISH!