Laundering Jesus

We always ate black eyed peas on New Year’s Day.

And my mother never washed clothes.

I have no idea why we ate black eyed peas. I think that they were supposed to make us rich. It didn’t work. But I knew why laundry wasn’t allowed. My mom sternly reminded me every year.

“Wash your clothes on New Year’s Day and you’ll wash away a member of your family.”

Remember that story from the Bible? The one where God wanted this man to live to be 280 but the man just had to go and wash his tunic on New Year’s Day, 400 B.C.? He was only 35 but God had no choice. Rules are rules.

That story isn’t in the Bible. But for some, it may as well be. Today, washers and dryers all across the country will be ignored. All because getting that ketchup stain out of the table cloth could mean the end for Aunt Gertie. So Aunt Gertie, if you know what’s good for you, take it easy with the ketchup at the New Year’s Day meal.

At my house, we’ll probably be using our washing machine on New Year’s Day. Not because we want to get rid of Aunt Gertie. There’s another reason.

And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17 (ESV)

All things.

The football games you’ll watch today.

The wars all over the globe.

The life span of you and your family members.

All things.

Our universe isn’t governed by chance. It rests under the sovereign care of Jesus Christ. All of it. And his agenda is never thwarted by black cats crossing your path, broken mirrors, and yes, even clothes being washed on New Year’s Day.

I have a friend. Earlier this year his dad came down with some kind of a rare kidney disease. It was bad. Is there such a thing as a good kidney disease? Anyway, my friend’s dad had to depend on dialysis while he waited for a new kidney. The wait usually takes a couple of years. Not this one. It only took a few months. For a matching kidney, the man had to look no further than his own daughter. A daughter that he adopted a few decades before he ever got sick.

All things.

There’s this old joke.

A guy is afraid to fly. So his buddy leans over to him as the plane takes off and tries to comfort him with some theology.

“Look man, if it’s not God’s time for you to go, you’re not going to die.”

The worried air traveler was a bit skeptical.

“But what if it’s the pilot’s time to go?”

Our tendencies to believe that the universe is governed by coincidence seem to know no boundaries.

All things.

Even when it seems like everything is falling apart, it’s all being held together by Jesus Christ. And that goes for pilots and passengers, sick fathers and adopted daughters, black eyed peas and laundry.

My mother still won’t be doing laundry today. It’s been nearly ten years since she died. But she didn’t die because someone in our family washed clothes. It was just God’s time for her.

As much as I would love to eat some black eyed peas with my mom today, I trust in God’s timing. A timing that is always perfect. A timing that is never bound by superstitions or coincidence.

My mother is finally free from those nagging fears of stepping on the wrong side of superstition. Free in the loving arms of her sovereign Savior.

Arms that are in control of all things.

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