Can You Really Wash Worry Away?
Have you ever had a spiritual Snapchat moment? Something important that passed through your hands or your heart, you released to God, and then it disappeared from your memory entirely?
On two different occasions in the past three months, I’ve had the privilege of sitting with small groups of women in retreat settings as they murmured words of deep concern for themselves or their families. As I listened, I dipped their hands into a basin of scented water the retreat team had provided and quietly prayed for these sisters to release whatever pain they had brought into the weekend – to symbolically wash it away.
The concerns shared were deeply confidential – I heard them, prayed through them, and then God wiped them from my mind. The requests disappeared – past the boundaries of memory to me but completely present to God.
The simple act of immersing our hands is symbolic as well as hygienic.
Our hands are instruments of utility – we work with them to serve others. They are means of communication – we gesture, signal, and even talk with them. Hands are also instruments of creativity – we paint, write, compose with them. Christ-followers who serve others are often called “the hands and feet of Christ.” We do serve God’s purposes – or not - through the works of our hands.
When Moses needed assurance of God’s promises (Exodus 4:2), the LORD asked him, “What is that in your hand?” When King Jeroboam tried to silence God’s messenger in Bethel (1 Kings 13:4), his hand became paralyzed. When Stephen was on the threshold of martyrdom (Acts 7:56), heaven opened, and he saw Jesus standing at God’s right hand.
Nearly two years into the present pandemic, many of us are weary of constantly washing our hands. There are signs posted everywhere we go, it seems, reminding us to scrub up to protect ourselves and others.
But the next time you stoop over a sink and soap up, take a few moments to consciously allow your current concerns to surface. Offer them up to God. Rinse and repeat as often as needed.
I awake every morning deeply burdened for the complex medical needs of our infant granddaughter. As I immerse my hands, I intercede for Jane and her exhausted family.
We may not recall this simple, continual act of releasing our worries, but I promise you, hands-down, He will.
“He remembered us in our weakness. His faithful love endures forever.” Psalm 136:23
(c) Maggie Wallem Rowe, 2021
Maggie's new book Life is Sweet, Y'all, will be published in hardcover by Tyndale House in March, 2022. One vendor is offering pre-orders for only $10.99 but the special ends today, November 9th.