There’s a story told about a little boy who went to the grocery store and bought laundry detergent. When the clerk asked him how he was going to use the soap, the boy replied that he was going to wash his dog. The clerk then cautioned the boy that the soap was very strong and might even kill his dog. The next week when the clerk saw the boy, he asked about the dog. The boy sadly admitted that the dog had died. “I tried to warn you,” said the clerk. To that the boy replied, “I don’t think it was the soap. It think it was the rinse cycle that got him.”
I can relate to that dog. Perhaps you can too. Sometimes it seems as if life has us in a washing machine, tossed and turned and flooded in the wash cycle, only to have to face the force of the spin cycle and then the jiggling and water of the rinse cycle and another spin. Flooded with problems that turn us every which way. Pressures that seem to spin out of control and then before we even catch our breath, it starts over again.
Perhaps it’s world events that trouble you – pandemic, rising food prices, threatened economic depression, and concerns about the coming vaccine. Or maybe it’s something closer to home – relatives who are sick, those who are refusing to come out of their homes, or perhaps even the loss of someone you love dearly – or a job loss, inability to find work and questions about how you will pay the bills – or perhaps concern about your children’s education since they cannot return to the classroom – or questions about whether the doctor can really know if your Dad or Mom is OK when they are only being seen on a virtual visit.
There seems to be no end to what can threaten to overwhelm us. We’re flooded in potential problems and spin around until we don’t know which way to turn. Wash, Spin. Rinse. Spin.
Although we may have been put in a predicament, unlike that poor dog in our story we are not alone. God is not like the boy standing outside the washer waiting for us to come out clean, He is in there with us. He’s as close as your next breath. As near as your shortest prayer. He says: “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 24:18) “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue and honor him.” (Psalm 91:15)
He understands your pain. He felt pain too. He died for you. He understands hunger. He fasted for forty days in preparation for the beginning of His ministry. He understands threatening waters. He rescued His frightened disciples when a storm at sea threatened to capsize their boat and they feared drowning. He understands diseases that the best in society can’t cure. He healed a woman from hemorrhaging after she spent 12 years seeking care from the physicians of her time.
So why do we suffer? The Bible isn’t clear, but it does say that He will turn all things around for good. We may not see that good now, but someday we will. And that brings me to my favorite promise – heaven. Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places … I go to prepare a place for you.” (Mark 4:2)
So the next time it seems like life has you in its wash, spin, rinse and spin cycle, remember that God is in there with you, He’ll turn all the problems around for good, and someday you’ll be with Him in heaven. And praise God, there’s no washing machines in heaven!
 Sermon by Reverend Robert Unverzagt entitled “Strike Up The Band” in the book Gentle Giant.