I walked through my house suffering a bit from cabin fever. I had been off work for over three weeks due to winter break from the university where I teach. Although school was to begin the next week I had one weekend to go with not much to do. The weather outside was below zero with blowing snow and ice so staying home was the best option.
As I walked though the house I looked in each room. As I looked in the upstairs bathroom I realized how old the décor had become. I had decorated it 20 years ago with blue and pink sponged walls and a shell wallpaper border. Cute for a kids bathroom I thought, but the kids were grown now. The cabinet was a dull white, left over from the previous owners who had painted each bathroom in the house, white, to rid themselves of the overly dark woodwork though out the house.
I decided that day I had enough time to remove the shell border that had gone out of style about 15 years earlier. As I took down the border it became apparent that, knowing I was going to add a border I did not paint as well as I should have behind the border, and wallboard was showing through.
Great, I thought, well now I will need to repaint the bathroom. So, my small project turned into a rather large project as I decided to repaint the dull white cabinet and the old sponged walls.
I picked out paint and painted for 5 days, covering the old sponged walls with a light gray and the old dull cabinet with a slightly darker gray, each violet undertones. Each day after painting I would clean my tools.
As I cleaned the brush and the roller the paint would ooze out slowly and just when I thought I was finished, suddenly with a brief squeeze of my hand more paint would emerge. I could have stopped at that point as the brushes looked clean from the outside, however I knew that deep inside there was more paint to emerge and if left embedded these tools would dry hard to the touch, rendering them useless for any further work.
This brought to my mind, my time of painting with my father years ago. Dad was a carpenter by trade and a jack of all trades by choice. He did most of the finish work in the homes he built, himself. This required a lot of painting. When he built his own house to which he and mom retired I did much of the painting. Dad would arrive to see me cleaning brushes and when I finished he would tell me the brushes were not clean. He told me if I didn’t get every bit of paint out of the brush it would dry hard and need to be thrown away. Dad spent over 30 minutes cleaning his brushes and his brushes lasted him over 15 years!
So, that day as I cleaned my brushes and rollers I thought of dad as I squeezed each tool and watched as the oozing paint emerged. I would dip the brush bristles into detergent and then splay them so that I could see each bristle, turning the brush a quarter of a turn as I moved through the brush cleaning it. I would drive the bristles into my hand to ensure the tips of the bristles were getting clean.
As I drove the bristles into my hand I thought of the hands of the other carpenter, the carpenter from the bible, and the nails that were driven into his hands so that the souls of sinners would be clean. When I squeezed the roller, I saw the paint ooze out and slowly the water began to run clear.
When Jesus died on the cross as the flow of blood ceased, blood and water flowed from the side of Jesus.
When my brushes were finally cleaned, I remember dad’s words, the brush must be clean from the inside to be useful in the future. “All finished dad.” I said as I dried the brushes.
Jesus said those words too, right before he died. “It is finished.” and shortly before he died, he said “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” John 17:3-4.
The cleansing was done for all. Jesus did for us what we could not and cannot do for ourselves. He has cleaned us from the inside, creating in us a new heart and a new spirit. He redecorated us from the inside out so we may be clean and useful tools in his hands.
What a marvelous picture of grace and love!
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26