That’s not a pleasant picture, is it??
I had to call a plumber this week.
Our bathtub wouldn’t drain. At all. Needless to say, it was nasty. And, an emergency. Not the kind of emergency where someone might die, though the idea of a house with 4 un-showered teenagers may make you want to die.
It was filled nearly to the top from the last person who showered. And it was gross.
I called the plumber, and even though he couldn’t get here until the end of his day, he was willing to extend his day in order to take care of our problem. This guy was a saint.
When he arrived, I embarrassingly showed him the way to the tub. He told me that either it was going to be a quick fix or an expensive fix. Of course I immediately started praying for the quick fix.
Then, much to my surprise, he plunged his hand into that yucky water and started fishing around. He used a screw driver to remove the fixture that stops up the drain so you can take a bath, and he pulled it out and showed it to me. He then wiped his finger over some brown gunk on there and said “You don’t want to know what this is.” Nice, as my stomach turned over.
He then proceeded to tell me that the contraption he was holding in his hand actually belonged deep down in the belly of the mechanics of the tub, and it had, over time, become loose. There wasn’t a clog, or if there was, the entire bottle of Draino I dumped into the tub took care of it. No, it was in the depths of the tub that the problem occurred. And, it was an easy fix. He was out of here in 30 minutes.
Later that night I thought about that nasty tub. The problem was in the depth of the tub. And so often my “problems”, be they sins or hurts or other issues, occur in the depths of my soul. Sometimes so deep that I can’t even reach them–just like there was no way I could reach the problem with the tub. And so my soul fills with bitterness just like the tub filled with nasty water. And then I stand on the edge of a pit, or in the pit itself, with no way to rescue myself.
But I have a God who knows my soul better than I do. He knows my sins of jealousy and envy, of selfishness and self-pity. He knows my hurts and my loneliness. He knows me—and He knows you–better than we do. And He, like the plumber, is not afraid to dive into the depths of our messy souls in order to root out the problem.
Just like the relief I felt when I saw the tub flowing freely again, there is great relief when we let God plumb the depths of our soul. We may be ashamed, or it may even hurt as He “takes us apart”, but the joy that returns is so worth it. And had I let that water stand for several days before calling the plumber, the yucky would have increased–mold, mildew, smelliness–leading to a much larger problem and more pain and time to fix the problem. How better to catch soul problems early and take them to God then to let them fester and build up mold and mildew over time!!
Job knew this. He knew deep bitterness of the soul–he spoke of it. But he also spoke of the one who–even though Job couldn’t understand how–could save his soul from this pit. And even though his friends got much wrong, Job’s friend Elihu did get something right. We see this is Job 33:28-30:
I know this to be truth. I hope that you know it to be truth as well. He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit–time and time again. Just this afternoon I was fighting a soul issue and with prayer and some scripture work, God brought me back from going into the depths of bitterness in my soul.
Our lives can look upon the light. Our lives can know great joy. But only through the deep soul work that only our God can do, just like the deep tub work that only the plumber can do.
But I have to be willing to let Him delve into the messiness and sinfulness of my soul in order to make me clean again.