I have some cabinets in my kitchen and those top shelves in the clothes closet which are just too high for me to get to the stuff stored up there without a small step-stool. Even when I stand on my tippy-toes I cannot see what is far back there on the rear of the shelf. Stuff could hang out there for years until one day I finally get out the stool and start exploring what has been shoved to the back over the months! I don't think our lives are much different. We have spaces in our lives, out of reach for a good long time, with stuff shoved into the corners of those places until one day someone takes on the task of finding out what is really there. At that moment, what is discovered is often pretty terrifying - just like the stuff at the back of the cupboard! It isn't "good" any longer because it has sat around for too long; nor is it "clean" because it has gathered all the dirt from just being left unattended all that time. What we most need as we start our year is a good "cleaning" of those far out of reach places in our lives!
I have reached to wherever you are in the farthest corners of earth, and the most hidden places therein. I have called to you and said, “You are my servant. I have chosen you, not thrown you away!” So don’t be afraid. I am here, with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, help you. I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up. (Isaiah 41:9-10 VOICE)
God doesn't ignore the far, out of reach places in our lives. In fact, he seeks for us until we are found, then he sets out to clean up those places until one day we are both clean and fresh! It is always amazing to me to hear the places God goes in each of our lives to uncover what has been pushed to the back for so long without us even suspecting the "space" that thing takes up in our lives, or the impact of having something so "unhealthy" for us just hanging around. The stuff we "stuff" to the back in our memories needs a good cleaning out. The stuff we "stuff" to the back in our emotions needs a freshening up. We cannot ignore those places because he cannot ignore them anymore than he can ignore us!
Some of the scariest things we uncover in any time of God's exploring of our hidden places are also the most troubling in our lives. They have actually taken up space which needs to be occupied differently - but we haven't allowed those spaces to be explored for so long we have no idea the things tucked away there are actually giving us all these problems! Every now and again I have to look to see what has gravitated to the back of those out of reach places because I find when I do, I make space! That stuff wasn't being used, or hadn't been useful to me in a long, long time. It just wasn't needed any longer. I "stored" the stuff away, thinking I'd have use for it someday, but to be totally honest here, I never got back to using it! So, why did I keep it? I guess it is kind of like most of the stuff in our lives - we just have a hard time parting with it because we somehow think we will use it again someday.
When this is an extra cup, or a canning jar, that isn't a big deal. When it is injured emotions, hurts we hold onto and harbor bitterness over, or wrong attitudes toward someone, these can be a little toxic to our system. I liken these to the cans on the shelves which gravitate toward the back, then the stuff on the inside of those cans begins to break down, forming fermenting bacteria until one day those sides of the can expand and the contents begin to leak out of the can, leaving a mess behind. These things don't just hide away at the back of our lives - they begin to break down and fester until they leave more of a mess than we'd probably like to deal with!
The good news is that God doesn't mind cleaning these spaces and he doesn't need a step-stool to do it! He has those places already scoped out in our lives and is faithful to go after what gets pushed to the back, out of sight, but not without effect in our lives. I am so grateful to him for not allowing stuff in our lives to just fester! His work is to make right, then to keep things right once he has accomplished that task. I think this is what he means when he says it is with his right hand that he makes right and then holds us up when it is all done. It may not be easy to allow the cleaning process to begin in our lives, but when we finally allow the "good stuff" we have shoved in over the kind of old and nasty, no longer useful stuff in our lives to be taken out of the way to expose that old and nasty stuff, we will find we have a whole lot more room for his grace and goodness to fill the shelves! Just sayin!