Life is interesting sometimes, we always seem to repeat the same lessons over and over. Maybe you can relate to this story. I am doing a small repair job on a friend’s patio. There were broken tiles from grandkids swinging golf clubs on the tiles of the patio. There were several loose tiles as well. Just like life, eventually things get broken, chipped and distorted from either age or misuse.
Those tiles are not exactly fragile, but the cleaning and restoration process is destructive. I found that out the hard way – several broke while trying to get the grout off the edges, and several more broke while trying to get the adhesive off the back of them. Now, I’m short whole tiles and I’ve got to go through the process of searching around town to find them. That alone is proving to be a difficult process.
As in any project, it seems that legwork is the primary ingredient. I tried muscle power alone, I started using a chisel to remove the adhesive from the back of the tiles, and that proved effective, but I got to the point where I could barely hold the chisel in my hand any longer, and I have several new blisters to prove that is a painful process too. While it was not destructive on the tiles, it was slow, and as I said, very difficult. So, I added a hammer to the process, and found that if I braced the tile against my foot on a piece of wood, that I could more easily chip away the adhesive from the back of the tiles. Trouble with that method is, that about every third or fourth tile broke.
So, it seems, while some methods require less physical strength, they wind up being more destructive. You pay the price in other words. Now, it turns out that you cannot find these tiles in town, they are “Special Order” only and you’ve got to wait 7-10 days for the things to come in (drat!). The color of the tiles won’t be an exact match either, so I’ve got to rethink the strategy for how to lay them out on the patio.
I just keep figuring there must be a life lesson in there somewhere! I would say that all projects wind up with many of these elements. If you try to brute force things, you may just run out of strength. Then, there’s always the principle that nine women can’t have a baby in one month either. There are simply laws of nature that you’re dealing with. Then, there’s the principal that restoration work is by nature destructive. Even in recovery, we know this to be true as well. You must “let go of the past” and start over in your life. New friends, new habits, new lifestyle, etc… The Christian life is very much the same.
The Apostle Paul said something about this in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” What he means by this is that we have been transformed (as it says in Romans) into something new and different. The question becomes whether this is a “destructive” process? I have no doubt but that it is, seeing as how the old is gone, and the new is replacing what was there before. I have written before about how pain and suffering are both part of this transformational process. It is my firm belief that we must let the past go in order to keep our eyes focused on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
The good news is that Jesus is kind and gentle. He doesn’t simply rip our old lives away leaving us naked and cold, rather He gently and steadily teaches us, improves us and molds us into people who want to be more like Him. He is both the goal and the teacher. The end result is that the growth process occurs at a pace that doesn’t kill us. If He simply did the transformation (which He certainly could do) then we wouldn’t have put in all that hard work (the legwork as I mentioned above) that is our necessary part in this process. It’s all about attitude in other words. The only thing that keeps us going forward towards becoming more like Jesus is our attitude. Keeping my eyes focused on Him means that my attitude is that of a person wanting to make it to Heaven, to run the race well, to finish well.
Lord, may I finish this day well with You. May those who read these words understand who You are and that you didn’t bring us this far to kill us, or to ruin the party. In fact, I’ve had more excitement, more fulfilling adventures in my life since meeting You – The Lord of all creation. Thank you for saving me, a wretched person.