Yesterday afternoon when I left work, the sun was shining, the thermometer hit a whopping 39°F, and my once-white Honda CR-V was covered in a coat of gray and brown. I also needed gas. As I punched in my credit card info at the gas pump, I was asked if I wanted to buy a car wash. And so I purchased the $10 "The Works" option. After filling my tank, I pulled around behind the gas station and was confronted by the sight of 7 other drivers lined up at the car wash entrance. Since my husband usually does the car-washing duties, I didn't know if I could use the car wash code on my receipt another day or if I had to use it right then, so I made the decision to wait it out. And wait it out I did. First, I thought about getting out of my car to dig out my iPad which was nestled in the bottom of school bag on the back seat, but I decided I was too lazy to do that. And it was too much trouble to do the gymnastics necessary for one of small stature and large girth to grab the bag from behind the driver's seat. So instead I turned on the radio and listened to "All Things Considered" for a bit. But I was tired of listening to reports from the Ukraine, so I turned it off. Then I started calculating how long each car wash took... average car wash 4.5 minutes!
It wasn't until I was next in line that it crossed my mind that I could have been using that time (almost 30 minutes) to do some prayer and reflection. I punched in my car wash code, and thought about the line from Psalm 51 that I've been using as a prayer focus, "Create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and put a new and right spirit within me." As the door to the car wash opened, and the powerful jets of water bombarded the undercarriage of my car, I thought about the power of a real-soul cleansing. The car rocked a bit from the power of the spray, and as I went further into the car wash, torrents of soap and water completely engulfed the car. Layers of salt, sand, mud, and road dirt streamed off the car. A blast of laser-driven air dried my car. leaving it dry, sparkling, and spotless.
A real soul-cleansing is not going to be calm and peaceful. It will rock me, and knock me about. It will hurt as the layers of sin and hurt are peeled away. It won't be over in 4.5 minutes either.
"Create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and put a new and right spirit within me."