If you have ever been through the process of having a home built, having it remodeled or simply having a room renovated, then you know the frustration of having to re-do some part of it that was either done improperly or didn’t quite meet your expectation.
Once, while Phil and Becca and the kids were up from their home in Florida to vacation at ours, I asked Phil if he would exchange some work on a yard shed for Shirley’s beef stroganoff and mashed potatoes. He readily agreed. 🙂 We enjoyed the meal together, but I finished first and went out to work while he lingered to talk, laugh and reminisce with siblings. Perhaps he was a bit fearful that ‘dad might not get it right’ or perhaps he just wanted to ‘be there to make sure I hadn’t missed a step in the process of roofing’, but he hurried out and while jogging toward the shed hollered, “WAIT. WAIT. WAIT. WAIT. WAIT”.
I was not a little bit annoyed and somewhat frustrated by his insistence that I stop. After all, I was just stapling down the tar paper to the roof so we could shingle it. “What’s so difficult about that”, I thought. “Doesn’t he trust me to get that right”?
I already had the east side and 3/4 of the west side finished and readied for shingles when he so rudely and abruptly stopped me. And I was making such good progress. Turning around and sitting down to face him, I waited for an explanation for his interruption. His question gave me pause, “Did you nail down the roof sheathing before you put the tar paper on?”. “NOW THERE’S A GOOD QUESTION”, I thought. It hadn’t even occurred to me to check that out. I had noticed that the sheathing seemed to be a bit loose. But I had been too concerned with reaching my goal of a finished roof to bother myself with the nagging little thought that something might not be quite right.
Hopping up onto the roof, Phil showed me that though the sheathing was ‘tacked’ in the corners it hadn’t been properly nailed down. He and Josiah had only set the sheets of plywood in place and responded to a call to supper. “One good storm”, he reasoned, “and your roof could have been in the neighbors yard”. So we tore all the tar paper off (how I hated to waste the materials and labor), nailed the plywood down, re-papered and got the shingles on just as darkness fell. That evening, it was so comforting to sit around a quiet peaceful fire and enjoy the accomplishment of a job done right.
Sometimes life is like this. We busy ourselves working toward a desired goal convinced that we’ll soon be rewarded. Sedated with the prospect of how happy we’ll be to achieve our goal, we neglect that little voice that is trying to get our attention and tell us that all is not right. Oblivious to potential consequences, we forge our way ahead, hoping to be fulfilled. Arriving at our destination, we realize, too late, that the thing we had hoped would make us happy only disappointed us. It had promised so much and delivered so little.
Finding ourselves at this point, we have a few options: become cynical and depressed, re-double failing efforts or turn to God. And though we know that turning in submission to God is the right choice, we stubbornly resist Him. Why? Because, I think, we feel like He’s going to ‘stop our progress, tear apart what we’ve accomplished and leave us devastated’. But quite the opposite is true. Listen to the words of Hosea 6:1-3: “Come, let us return to the Lord; for He has torn us, THAT HE MAY HEAL US; He has struck us down and HE WILL BIND US UP. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will RAISE US UP, THAT WE MAY LIVE BEFORE HIM. Let us know; let us PRESS ON TO KNOW THE LORD…”!
Through faith in Jesus Christ, let’s purpose to allow God to enable us to ‘be right before Him and live right for Him’.