It’s now two days before Thanksgiving. I suppose it’s time for my yearly cleaning of the oven. No, I don’t do it just once a year, sometimes it’s less often. Right now I’m sitting here steeped in shame and humiliation to say, I honestly have no idea the last time I cleaned my oven.
If only it was at least once a year.
It used to be more. Every time something spilled in it I’d clean it overnight. Oh the joys of a self-cleaning oven. Push the clean button and walk away. A few hours later come and find a miraculously clean oven. Just like magic.
But the locking feature of my oven is not working properly. It will lock when it’s cleaning just fine. It just won’t unlock and will instead just keep beeping at you to tell you, “Hey! I can’t unlock.” If only it was a regular oven and I could just pull it from the wall to unplug it to reset. But alas and alack. It’s a wall oven so no go.
I made birthday cake last week and because sometimes I have trouble following simple directions the cake spilled all over the bottom of the oven. And it was already a mess.
So since Thanksgiving is coming I thought I should clean it. Not because I’m cooking dinner. Or that I’ll even be home. But you know. It should be clean for the holidays. Just in case someone breaks in and decides to cook something I don’t want to be embarrassed by a dirty oven.
As I was scrubbing the oven I so clearly heard the Spirit speak to my soul, “You know this mess didn’t happen over night or all at once. It took time. And it’s going to take time to clean it. You’re going to get tired and you’ll want to quit before the job is done. Do you think cleaning your soul will be any different? It will take time for you to heal. You’ll get tired of the constant-ness of it. But you didn’t get broken over night and you won’t heal overnight. You’ll want to quit before the job is done.”
And I wanted to stop my ears from hearing His words because I knew they were true. I’m approaching this whole healing journey like the drive thru lane of McDonald’s.
And yes, I want fries with that.
But it’s not like that. It’s not a fast process. It’s a slow, painfully slow at times. Like scouring the oven. Like growing.
It’s not even a sprint as opposed to a marathon. It’s like a slow walk through the wilderness in the dark.
I’m already so weary and tired of all the scrubbing. My muscles are sore and screaming at me to just quit already.
Just Quit already. When I’ve only just begun.
When Jesus didn’t quit. Surely the healing journey I’m on, that painful road to my own cross, my own death is no less painful than the road He took to secure my very life. The very life that I’m living now in His strength.
His strength. That’s the chemotherapy for my cancer-ridden soul. His strength is my lifeline and is my life.
I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20 (nasb)