As most of you probably know, I currently work for a carpet cleaning company. Some of the carpets that I clean are pretty nasty. Last week I helped clean a particularly nasty carpet. When we walked into the room, the smell was almost overwhelming. Imagine a port-a-poddy exploding in a tobacco factory and that's a pretty good picture of the stench.
If that's not bad enough, the carpet itself was even more repugnant. I'm still not exactly sure what color the carpet was originally, but when we got there it was a lovely assortment of reds, greens, blues, blacks and browns. There were dozens of pieces of gum smeared into the fibers. The stains were so deep that our first attempt to clean (which usually blasts out pretty much anything) barely even touched it. Disgusting smelling red stains were splattered everywhere. And to top it all off, there was a fine collection of cigarette burns, random black spots and an unidentified greenish-brown substance (use your imagination).
About an hour into the job with little progress to show for, I was overcome with a touch of hopelessness. I knew that no matter how much sweat, toil and labor we invested into this carpet it was still going to look trashed out. The whole thing was beginning to gross me out (and, as a big brother to four, I don't get grossed out very easily). What's the point? I thought. Why work so hard and exhaustively for something so disgusting and revolting?
Then, the Holy Spirit hammered something into me. How must God look at my heart? Suddenly, sins began to come into my mind. Disgusting, repulse sins that no doubt offended and hurt my perfect God. Oh, how nasty I must seem to God!
Yet, how tirelessly He labors to clean and purify me, with all my repulsiveness. Sometimes, I can't help but wonder if God gets as frustrated with me as I did with that carpet. It seems that no matter how hard He labors to cleanse me of my filth, I still insist on rolling in the mud.
But I know that, unlike me, God does not grow weary of as He lovingly cleans my sin-stained heart. In love, He claims that disgusting carpet as His own and is transforming it into something worthy of His very presence.
Keep laboring, Great Cleanser!