Today was going to be a banner day in our kitchen. Our oven and dishwasher have been on strike since we arrived. Every meal has been carefully planned around not needing an oven and every dish has been scrubbed clean in person. This was the day that some unknown delivery man was going to drive up to our front door and deliver happiness and freedom in two large boxes. I washed dishes this morning after breakfast, silently soaking in the celebration that this would be my last date with sudsy water and dreamed about the dessert I was going to bake later that day. I then proceeded to ignore the lunch dishes and willingly permitted them to pile up knowing that soon, very soon, I would simply slip them into their magical steamy sanitation chamber.
As if on cue Tanner, the delivery man, arrived and within 30 minutes the old oven was out, a small long forgotten toy race car had been discovered in a dark corner and the new oven was installed in its place. It was a super exciting moment and I may have giggled once or twice at how shiny and working the oven seemed to be. The dishwasher however was left waiting outside our front door for his turn to become one of the family. My husband assured me that his turn would come swiftly. I proceeded to prep dinner and begin work on our evening’s dessert, pear cake, which I had decided, would initiate the oven perfectly. Plates, silverware, pans and bowls began to pile high but no matter, no worries, the dishwasher was cued and almost ready, it was practically washing the dishes already! Somewhere however between the pasta dinner and pear cake prep, the unthinkable happened. It was discovered that a vital installation piece was missing and the entire exciting forward momentum ceased. The mountain of dirty dishes encircled the room while the empty dishwasher sat helplessly in the middle of the floor and my heart sank with disappointment. No magical steamy sanitation chamber would be rescuing me this evening. I had made my mess and I would clean it up. Alone and with my hands. Again. I didn’t have a ‘turn this lemon into lemonade moment’, my mouth was still sour and all it wanted to do was pout.
But later that evening after the kids had gone to bed and I finished hand-washing the dishes that my thoughtful husband had begun earlier, I reflected on the day and it occurred to me that a powerful analogy was working itself out in my kitchen. How often do we start to let things slide in our relationship with God Almighty? We let things pile up and we rationalize that we are just too busy right now, that pretty soon we can refocus, realign our priorities and get back to knowing our Savior. Meanwhile we take our problems, our fears, our worries and pile them up around us until we are frustrated, overwhelmed and paralyzed. Then we look to God who we know is just like sitting there in the room totally capable yet seemingly unconcerned, unconnected and we say, “Why don’t you work? Why aren’t you cleaning up this mess?!” All the while the one necessary piece to the puzzle is missing–a drawing near, a bending low, a humble submission before our Creator. James 4:7-8 gives clear instructions to those of us who are becoming overwhelmed with fights and quarrels, wrong motives and covetousness. We are reminded to “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. . . Humble yourselves before the lord, and he will lift you up.”
The status of my kitchen may or may not not have any direct correlation to the status of our relationship with the Lord, but it is a good reminder that when we put aside what should not be neglected, it will not take long before it is demanding attention. Satan so easily slips in and whispers, “You will have time to do that later.” All he needs to do to disable us is simply to distract us. Sister, brother, don’t. Let my evening in front of the sink bear fruit in your heart today. Draw near to God and he will come near to you. Connect to Him and He will work powerfully. Don’t underestimate the privileged opportunity that awaits as we meet with the One who spoke us into existence.