I like to clean.
When I'm cleaning something, I'm in control over it. I can wash away what I don't want, and make a thing lovely and pristine again.
Then, I can step back, survey my work, and sigh with pride, knowing that what once was worse is better for my having been there.
Unfortunately, you can't clean a heart, or a life, for that matter. There are a few loved ones whose lives seem in complete chaos right now. When I hear their stories or see their actions, I feel as if I'm staring at a black chalkboard scribbled all over with white chalk, or a plain wall plastered in angry graffiti. I see a floor covered in the shards of broken dishes. I see white furniture splashed irredeemably with black paint.
It makes me want to shout at them. How can you be so blind, and how can you be so stupid? It makes me want to tear my clothes, like the grieving Jews did in the Old Testament. Please, only turn to God! You are tearing the world apart piece by piece to find your purpose, but it's in front of your face! How can they be made clean? They've only fallen further as the days go by, deeper and deeper into muck and slime. How can they be made whole again? Their brokenness cuts so deep and so painfully, they're numb to the pain and they don't even know where the brokenness begins.
This is where I most understand, I think, our helplessness as humans. We live in a needy world. We are a needy people. And we don't have the means to fill our needy hearts.
Here, I begin to see the necessity of prayer, as well. Really, isn't our natural response in desperation to cry out loud to a higher power for help? I can't do anything for these people, which would drive me crazy (and sometimes still does, I'll admit) unless I knew there was someone who can do something, and in a greater, more awesome way than my comparatively feeble mind can conceive of.
Clean, my Lord, I pray you clean!