Courtesy: Daniel Bramlett
We bought an old house. We remodeled it and live in it now. We bought another one. Images of Tom Hanks falling through the floor along with the bathtub come to mind. Dreams of spontaneous water fountains underneath the house plague me. Thankfully I have lots of friends willing to jump into the pit of despair with me and shape this pile of lumber and shingles into a home.
Every time I crawl under or over my new ‘project’ I think about my friends. This is partly because they are crawling with me, precariously picking their way through old wiring and deep water, but also because I know this project would be impossible without them. I think I can learn some life lessons as I push down old walls and step through old floors.
First, our lives can begin to look a lot like my old house. On the outside everything is relatively sound. It has windows and doors, a roof and an attic. There are floors and cabinets and bathtubs. But it doesn’t take too much digging to find out that there are some serious problems just under the surface. If we don’t work to fix these problems as we discover them, eventually my doors won’t shut and my windows will crack; I will end up with a pile of lumber instead of a solid house.
Does your life look more like “The Money Pit” under the surface or do you have a solid foundation holding up your life structure? All of us have rot. That’s just a part of being human. All of us have sagging walls and leaky pipes. The key is, as the Spirit reveals our hidden disaster zones, we must address them. We do that by allowing the Master Contractor, the Spirit of God to lead the way into our muddy undersides and begin to tear out the rot and replace it with His goodness and righteousness. This can only happen if we submit to His prodding when He prods. Let Him work! You’ll find His work to be of the best quality, His reviews are 5 star, and His demeanor is angelic. Do not ignore the convictions the Spirit of God births in your heart. Give Him free reign to deconstruct so that He can build the masterpiece He intends you to be!
Second, the Church is a lot like my group of friends. They linger in our lives in just the right way, so that we have the support we need when we need it. Were it not for my friends at my dump I would be much more than lonely. I would just have an eternal dump. But their presence transforms my mess into a treasure!
Are you putting yourself in the path of others for the purpose of righteous construction or are you choosing to hide out and tackle the job yourself? The plan was never for you and God to go it alone. I’m sorry to break it to you, but Heaven is not going to be a perpetual vacation where you get to lie on a beach or ski by yourself all day. Heaven is not at all about you and your likes and dislikes. It is all about the presence of God and our proximity to Him, for His glory, for the rest of eternity.
If that sounds boring or confining just think how much you enjoy your time with your kids and grandkids and your temperament will subside. God created us! He is our Father! He loves to be near us! Heaven is designed to be a big living room where we can all gather as time disappears and God fully captures our hearts. WE, all of us who turn from our messed-up-ness and trust Jesus to be the boss of our lives (really, not just those who say those words and keep doing whatever it is they want to do) will spend eternity together. That starts now, not just when we die. The Church is the best we can get now. Wanna know what Heaven is like? Come hang out with a bunch of people who are trusting Him to rescue us now. It’s a good life to live!
Third, when the roof caves in or the floor falls through and you are ready to quit, don’t. Though it may not seem like it, you still have a house. Most of it is still good and present. Listen to the voice of the Spirit as He expertly guides you through the repair process and trust your friends in the Body of Christ to be helping hands all along the way. Enter in instead of pulling away. Come to the Light instead of inching towards the darkness. Trust the One who built your house to begin with to keep you standing in the clear. Our rot is a constant reminder of our need for a Rescuer. There is no way we were ever created to figure this out on our own.
Oh, and if you want a place to hang out with a bunch of people who like to fall through ceilings and get sprayed in the face with leaky pipes…my doors are always open.