Monday, January 9, 2012

Clean Off the Dirt: Taking our filth into the glory of heaven

On Sunday of my time here in Haiti, a few of us visited the home of one of the families who come to the milk clinic at the orphanage. Amy is a newborn whose mother died in childbirth. Her aunt and grandfather have been walking eight miles to bring her to the milk clinic to receive clothing and infant formula. The precious baby weighs less than five pounds.

Due to the poor conditions of the roads it took us close to an hour to travel the eight miles by truck.  After asking around, we found Amy's hut and were glad to find her family home.  A brief exam found her in good condition, relatively speaking, and then I had the privilege of rocking her while the pastor who came with us visited with the grandfather and aunt.

My French is too poor to understand much of their Creole dialect so I'm afraid I can't retell the conversation that transpired between the two. After several minutes of conversation, though, Pastor turned to us and said, in English, that they wanted to accept Christ as their Savior. They bowed down to pray and I could make out enough of what was said to know they recognized the sin in their lives and accepted the gift of Jesus' death on the cross as the payment for their sin, thereby enabling their eternal life in heaven with Him.

As they prayed, I silently prayed for their newfound faith, spiritual protection, and growth. Here is where my story turns ugly, though. 

As I stood in the filth of their hut, holding a sweet infant who smelled of her own waste, I found myself praying, "Lord, what a blessing it would be for You to return soon and lift this family out of these desperate, dirty conditions." Here is my confession: At this point in my prayer, my thoughts shifted. In that squalor, my bizarre mind wondered if God will hose us all off as we leave earth and enter His heavenly presence. Please don't leave me nasty comments, I can't help it these weird thoughts pop into my mind.

As soon as the thought entered my head, the Spirit reminded me that in God's eyes, all of us are more dirty and filthy than the aunt and grandfather were in my eyes. "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). In our sinful state, we are so nasty, so dirty, that Holy God has to turn His back to us. In His glory and perfection, we can't even be in His presence.

The wonder of it all is that God couldn't stand for us not to be in His presence. His sacrifice on the cross made the way for us to be made clean, and, in a way, He will hose us off when we stand before Him someday - it will just be a little more spiritual.

"'Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.' Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints" (Revelation 19:7-8).

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