By Commissioner Jolene K. Hodder
Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean, scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life. Tune me in to foot-tapping songs, set these once-broken bones to dancing. Psalm 51:7 (The Message)
I have never liked doing laundry. But now, when my two-year-old grandson helps, I love it! He opens the front-loading machine, helps me put in the dirty clothes, and then looks up at me and says, “Soap, Grandma” or rather, “Ope, Grandma.” I put the soap in, he closes the door and raises his hands so I will pick him up to push the buttons. Then we both stand there, waiting to see if it is going to work. Once we hear the clicking and then see the swish of the water, we look at each other with big smiles, and then we clap, jumping up and down.
He walks back to the washer every now and then to make sure it is going through the cycles. I remind him that we must let the machine run its course for the clothes to be completely cleaned and ready for use. At the sound of the buzzer, we drop what we are doing and race to put the clothes in the dryer, once again clapping all the way.
While doing the laundry the other day, and thinking about the machine’s cycles, I thought about the call of God on the lives of Moses and Abraham. First, there was a washing cycle with agitation, then a rest period, then a rinse sequence, and finally a spin phase to remove the water. Sometimes, there was more than one rinse and spin cycle to get the job done.
Actually, the same’s been true for me. And it started me thinking that, while we all tend to think that our divine callings are complicated things, they’re really very much like a washing machine – simple and straightforward. It’s like this:
1. Agitation cycle: When God called me to be an officer, it agitated me. I had my own plans and dreams, and they didn’t look anything like officership. My calling shook me up a bit. It made me uncomfortable. In other words, it agitated me.
2. Rest Cycle: I didn’t move forward with the calling. Instead, I just stopped and argued with God. I asked questions, bargained, and whined. I stalled. I dug in my heels and refused to accept His will for my life.
3. Rinse/Spin: During this time, God’s voice became clearer as I let doubts and excuses spin away. Just as he asked me to give up my own plans for His, he asked me to give up my arguments. He had already worked out all the details even if I hadn’t. I just had to let go.
4. Buzzer: At a certain moment, it hit me that my decision had been made. It was at that moment I said, “Yes, God!” I thought of my grandson clapping at the sound of the buzzer. I felt just like that when I finally gave in. Suddenly there was a strange peace mixed with anticipation. I had placed my life in His hands once again.
Just as I will be doing laundry for the rest of my life, the cycles of my calling keep repeating…wash, rest, rinse, spin, repeat. In different stages of our lives, God calls us to new ministries, new places, new adventures.
Don’t make it more complicated than it is. It’s simple. God calls…you respond…he prepares, rinses and repeats!