We are writing these things so that our joy will be complete...
[As] he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.
1 John 1:4, 9 (NLT)
As we gazed over the beautiful, vast, ranging mountains, the powerful, rushing river worked its way around the banks far below. Although the mountains were amazing, it was the mighty Yukon River I got to thinking about. My wife, Linda, and I were able to see the river while helping facilitate a workshop in the Yukon, Canada.
While there, we met an ordained minister, Bert Chestnut, from “Old Crow” Yukon. He spoke of the Porcupine River that flowed there and how this river impressed him deeply as it seemed to cleanse itself. It reminded him of the cleansing power of God’s love.
He writes, “Interesting, how there is so much debris: wood, logs, garbage, and who only knows what else, floating downstream in the river. In a sense, the river is cleansing itself. I couldn’t help but spend time thinking about how God’s love is very much like the river. When we finally accept and allow God to have his way in our lives, his love washes away all that garbage we have spent so much time collecting.”
Jesus used His last week in Jerusalem to clear out garbage as well. When He saw the shameful practices in the temple area, Jesus threw the unethical businessmen out the door (Matthew 21:12). Just like the garbage that collects in our lives, these “robbers” did not just show up one day but were slowly incorporated into the traditions of the temple until they became part of the culture.
Think about the things you may have collected along the way that God wants to cleanse you of. Chances are that they, too, have slowly made themselves a part of who you are. But just as the river continually cleanses itself, Jesus’ death and resurrection are like a river of never-ending forgiveness and love.
Dear Lord, thank you for the power of your love, more powerful than the mightiest river on earth. Thank you, Jesus, that we can take all our hurts, sorrow, and pain to you, and you will cleanse us and lead us to the true path of healing and life itself! In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.