Picking dishes for Alex and I was kind of fun. It was infinitely less complicated than picking, say, silverware (which Alex demanded be properly “balanced”. He tested forks by holding them between his thumb and his forefinger and bouncing it. I didn’t really understand the whole process, but it worked.) For our plates, we wanted dishes that were not stuffy but not cheap. So we settled on ceramic. Being that we weren’t ready to commit to the seemingly neon Fiestaware, we settled for a less chipper Espanaware,which is still ceramic and still comes out of the microwave at 5000 degrees with a wad of cold food in the middle. I’ve taken to reheating things in our cancer-leaching plastic tupperware containers because I have made the tough decision that I would rather have cancer than lose my fingers to 3rd degree burns from a reheated bowl of soup that isn’t hot yet.
I haven’t really utilized a dishwasher for about 5 years. Alex and I enjoy saving energy and we’re only two people, anyway. So, we do it the old-fashioned way- with a sponge and dishwashing soap that makes your hands feel like silk. Washing things by hands helps me initmately know my dishes and how they need to be cleaned- the rice maker needs to soak first, Crystal light is nearly impossible to get out of the bottom of that water bottle, there’s the spoon that I dropped in the disposal, and that bowl is chipped on one side. Sure, I could use some sort of wonder machine that magically cleans my dishes automatically, but I kind of enjoy having the confidence that I could pick my silicone bakeware out of a line-up because I laid the corner of it on the stove coil.
I don’t know if you’re familiar with the story of Moses, but it’s a good one. God calls Moses to go rescue His people from Pharoh in Egypt who is keeping them as slaves. Moses goes and throws down with Pharoh and wins (with a little help from God). God miraculously saves the Israelites by parting the water of a sea for them to cross. Then He tells them that He wants to commit to them and He wants them to commit to Him. He says, “Hey! I’ve got this Promised Land for ya that’s got all the amenities and milk and honey you would need. But, it is going to take a while to get there and you might have to fight a little and you’ll encounter other religions. It won’t be easy, but I’ll be with you.” At that point, the Isrealites proceed to wander about getting into all sorts of trouble and abandoning God and forgetting their commitments and being scared. It’s quite a story.
I wonder, why didn’t God just take them directly and immediately to the Promised Land?
When you decide that you’re tired of being a slave to sin and you’re ready to be set free and follow Jesus, you are clean and innocent before God. Think of it like a trial. God is the judge and Jesus is your lawyer who volunteers to take your guilty charge and serve the sentence himself. Before God, you are justified. BUT you are (obviously) not perfect. God commands more than once “Be holy as I am holy.” That is a pretty stout command, especially considering there’s no magic word to make us completely holy. What does it mean? How is that possible when it is so blantantly obvious that we are not and cannot be perfect?
Sanctification. Sanctification is the process of becoming holy. After you make that initial decision, after you have escaped from “Pharoh” into freedom, God claps his hands together and says, “Let’s get to work. I’ve got this great place but it’s going to take a while to get there and it’s not going to be easy. You will be tempted to abandon me and forget me and I know you will give in to some of those temptations, but I’ll be with you and we’ll get through it together.” Just as the Isrealites wandered in the desert, we also have to go through a process of becoming holy.
Sure, God could go “Wham bam boom” and make us perfect individuals, but I think He prefers to take us along for a ride so that we can truly learn to KNOW Him. As an example, Alex and I wanted to go to Tennessee a couple of years ago. We could have chosen to fly and make a quick trip in and a quick trip out. It certainly would have been faster. But we chose to drive. It took us two and a half days of wandering around Arkansas and Kentucky and Tennessee before we reached the Smokey Mountains. It was a long drive, but we had so much fun getting lost and tooting around that I wouldn’t have flown for the world. As a newlywed couple under the stress of full time jobs, that trip was precious because it allowed us the chance to get to know each other more inimately. God doesn’t want to immediately drop you into being a perfect person, because then you wouldn’t know Him as well. By allowing us to go through life as imperfect but redeemed people, He lets us learn to depend on Him and to really know Him.
In other words, God doesn’t throw us in the dishwasher. He washes us by hand, which takes longer, but He knows us more intimately because of it. He knows where our rough spots are and why we have them. He knows that sometiems it takes multiple washings to get us clean. And as a result, we know that we are truly loved and known by Him.
Be holy as He is holy…but it’s okay if it takes some time.