Monday, April5, 2021
Our Hearts and Minds
Hard Won Over
Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster befall a city, unless the Lord has done it?
Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?
Words of Grace For Today
A family of four, the parents of whom had chosen to serve as pastors in the church, arrived back on Canadian soil, ruined by a congregation that had a history of ruining pastors. Financially broke with only two old cars, they needed a place to live. They could not afford a house and rents were kept out of reach by artificial manipulations, to enrich the wealth of the few landlords that lived locally and the many who lived elsewhere.
So, the father decided they would look for property so that he could build them a house. They found and bought a property with an old, falling apart, mouse-infested homestead house on it, he built them a sound and environmentally responsible house, and they had a secure and safe place to live.
It sounds simple.
A young couple in their thirties, living between their parent’s houses, needs a place to establish themselves, to live together and forge their own way in life. They cannot afford anything available on the market, so they look at what they can afford. The best option is a repossessed townhouse that has the carpets ripped up, holes in the walls and doors from feet and fists, and lots of wear and tear everywhere. They buy it and recruit their friends and family to help them ‘make it right’ and safe to live in.
It sounds simple.
Life is much more complicated than the simple stories or dreams we have.
The family of four lived planed that the house would take a better part of a year to build as they lived in that homestead, two bedroom house with an earthen basement. Finances and construction were stressful beyond belief as step by step the father learned what needed to be done in the next step of construction. There was no room for errors or redoing any step. Fortunately a retired house builder volunteered to draw out building plans from his hand drawn design, research the new processes and materials they used, and generally keep the project from going off the rails. The parents both worked, he half time as a pilot, sinking every penny and every minute they had into the building project. In the end they moved into the not quite finished new house when the old house started to fall apart and become unlivable.
It took three years of literal blood, sweat and tears … and a lot of help from friends and family, and in the end the family did have a sound house to live in.
The young couple looked at the ugly, dirty insides of an otherwise sound duplex and estimated that it would be livable in a few weeks. Friends needed a place to live and they would share their new place with them. The friends apartment they were in flooded. The project started with volunteers joining in to gut the townhouse of thousands of nails and staples on the floors, dirt soaked carpets on the stairs, a huge assortment of things stuck into the walls, a folding door that did not work, and … and … and.
The project could not be completed in a few weeks. Drywall patching took that long, as the obvious holes were finished and then less obvious ones were found, outside walls without insulation were discovered, and useless space was made into useful closet space. Dingy curtains came down, ripped out curtain rod supports were removed, rotted baseboards and trim were removed, thousands of nails removed from nearly everywhere, and tens of thousands of pin holes in the drywall were patched. Finally with most of the walls bare, the priming and painted started, a sliding door was custom fit to the poorly designed bathroom near the entrance, the kitchen cupboard fronts were removed, the hinges soaked and cleaned of paint and grime, new paint freshened the kitchen, the upstairs floors were covered with a proper sub-flooring, and finally one, then two, then three rooms had new flooring installed. Painting continued, clean up continued, door bottoms where cut to fit the new floor height, and after cleaning up every day the construction mess, out went all the garbage to the appropriate disposal sites. New material for flooring, baseboards, and the assorted things that had to be replaced came in and were stacked even as the saw dust filled the air from cutting wood. The odd fix like a dryer vent needed to be installed. Appliances arrived. Old ones were carted off.
Four weeks past with painting to be done, trim to be cut, painted, and installed, flooring to be installed, but the end started to look possible in a week or so.
It took more than a month and finally the couple has a place to live and share with their friends.
God provides. Sometimes it requires lots and lots of blood, sweat, and tears to get to the basics, a safe and secure place to live.
God provides all we need, most of all to trust that God is with us, that God is for us, that God saves us. For this the Messiah suffered an agonizing death on a cross, unjustly condemned. Only then, three days later did God raise him back to life, to demonstrate to us hard-headed, hard-hearted people God’s glory is not in quick fixes or miraculous resolutions or taking away our free will. God loves us and wishes us to learn to love God, ourselves, our neighbours and even our enemies. That does not happen overnight or in an instant. It takes much more time than renovating an ugly, dirty townhouse. It takes much more time and effort and investment on our part than building a house from the ground up with the minimum of experience and money.
God’s glory is in saving us from our twisted ways and view of God, God’s creatures, and all of God’s creation.
For us to learn to love God, ourselves, our neighbours and even our enemies takes more than a life time. It takes the bending of time and space and reality that we build around us … until we can see the world and all that is in it as God created it to be … Good!