Joy in the Struggles of Life

"Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:30

There is an old southern saying that one shouldn’t air their dirty laundry in public. Yet, the most important lessons I’ve learned in life have come from the airing of dirty laundry—mine and others. It is with this premise in mind that we air our dirty laundry—holes, stains, and all—and practically apply God’s Biblical principles to our lives, making our lives a lieu de joie--a place of joy--for all who enter.

When I was a little girl, we would visit my Grandma Tis every other summer in Van Nuys, California where my mother was born and raised. Grandma Tis lived in a wonderful old home with a separate wash house on the back of the property. The wash house sat nestled beneath the shady canopy of a twisted old fig tree and other wonderful climbing trees in Grandma Tis’ backyard. Inside the wash house was a giant electric wash tub and an automatic wringer. No need for a “new-fangled” washer and dryer. Both still worked just fine.

As children, my brother, sister, and I were blessed with the privilege of helping in the fine chore of clothes washing and hanging, yet the job of putting the clothes through the wringer was left to the master—Grandma Tis. Not even my mother was allowed to use the automatic wringer. She had not yet mastered the machine, and had on occasion gotten her arm caught in it.

Once the clothes had been washed thoroughly in the wash tub, Grandma Tis would start the wringer. She carefully and skillfully guided each article of clothing through the ominous, giant press, then caught the garment with one hand as it came through the back side of the wringer.

She repeated this process not once, or twice—but as many times as each garment needed until it no longer dripped into the waiting laundry basket. Can you see the Biblical application here?

Just like you, I've gone through many struggles in life.  Yet God, in His divine wisdom and providence, reminds us through His Word that He is the skillful Master of the wringer, and He uses pain and suffering to refine us into who He wants us to be. He will not permit us to be wrung-out more than necessary.

The Bible says, "I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.” Isaiah 48:10

Even though I am a great deal “drippier” than I once thought, there is a special comfort in having a close, personal relationship with the Master of the wringer. I find in Him my lieu de joie even in times of struggle.