God With a Washcloth

  • March 2, 2012
  • #7785

Joni shares that being cleansed is humbling, but it allows us to grow. 

Hi, this is Joni Eareckson Tada and welcome to Joni and Friends.

Recently a friend of mine had to stay in a hospital for two weeks. When I asked him what the most difficult part was about his long hospitalization, I thought sure he'd talk about the painful recuperation from his surgery. I mean, we’ve all been there, right? Instead, he shook his head and grimaced, “Bed baths! I hated having those nurses give me bed baths. I wish I could have done it myself.”

I thought that was so funny, but I bet you can empathize, right? I sure can. Without being specific, you've got to know that as a quadriplegic like me I need personal help. I can't exactly walk into a shower or step into a tub. I need a lot of help when it comes to bathing. And it's always, well it’s always difficult; there's zero chance to be private. All modesty goes out the window. But you can understand. I mean, put yourself in my situation. All of us feel a deep aversion to being bathed by someone else. We don't want to be exposed, we feel a strong distaste, especially if we're forced to be that transparent, just like my friend felt when he was in the hospital. Personal cleansing is a routine we would really rather do ourselves, thank you very much. To have another approach us with soap and a washcloth is...well, it’s embarrassing.

Those are the feelings I have struggled with over the years, and I will tell you what has helped me. Just listen to what David the psalmist prayed in Psalm 51:7. He wrote: “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” At any other time, David may have felt a strong distaste about being bathed by someone else. But there came a time in his life when he felt so soiled, so stained and smeared with sin, so thoroughly dirtied by rebellion and iniquity in that he just had to cry out to God, “Cleanse me ... oh God, wash me!” He knew he needed a good soul scrubbing. He also knew that that sort of cleansing was something he could never do for himself. So as far as he was concerned, "forget that thing about modesty and privacy." Right then and there, he didn't care if he was exposed; instead, he humbled himself and gave to the Lord all of his embarrassing sins.

Learning that about David really, really helped me humble myself before others who had to approach me with soap and a washcloth. But it helped me spiritually, too. It forces me to be humbled before the Lord when it comes to my own sin. First Corinthians 6:11 reminds you and me that, "You were washed..." it says, but our souls need a good scrubbing every day. We were washed at the cross, but every day I need a scrubbing. Our characters need a good scouring. So join me in presenting to God today all the areas of our lives that need to be made right. Join me in humbling yourself before Him and getting pure before the Lord – you will be amazed at how quickly you'll grow, plus, oh, the joy of feeling clean before the Lord. 

I hope you’ve been inspired and refreshed by our time together today. I just want you to know that I treasure these few minutes we have together. And I’d like to hear from you, hear your story, what you’re learning from God’s Word. So write me today, would you, at PO Box 3333 Agoura Hills, CA 91376 or you can always visit Joni’s Corner at joniandfriends.org. May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Spirit. Here’s hoping to hear from you today.

Previously aired as program #7093 on 7/8/09.

© Joni and Friends

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