things get worse ...

Saturday Reflection

17th October 2020

'before they get better'

24 "All who listen to my instructions
    and follow them are wise,
    like a man who builds his house
    on solid rock.
25 Though the rain comes in torrents,
    and the floods rise
    and the storm winds
    beat against his house,
    it won't collapse,
    for it is built on rock.

Matthew 7:24,25

Home renovations are very similar to
heart renovations.
Over the last few weeks
we have had builders in,
putting an extension
on the side of our house.

Having building work done
on your house is not for the faint hearted.
The mess is indescribable,
our front garden resembles a builder's yard,
the results are slow to take shape
as they are subject to the vagaries of the weather.

At least it's being done outside -
but the boiler was not big enough
to cope with the extra radiators,
so the fire and back boiler
had to come out of the lounge,
to be replaced by a new electric fire,
and the tank removed
from the airing cupboard
and replaced by a new boiler
and floor boards taken up
to allow re-routing of pipes;
indoor chaos!

As I've watched the building work,
I've learnt some important lessons.
¤ 1. ~ You have to tear some things down
    before you can build back up
    in new and beautiful ways.
It's impossible to see true
transformation unless you remove
the damaged and unhealthy parts first.
Houses and people are alike in this way.
Sometimes we have to remove
what 'was' so
that we can move on
to 'what can be.'

¤ 2. ~ Working on the foundation
    isn't the most appealing
    or attractive work,
    but it is of major importance.
Jesus spoke of this truth
in today's key verses above
and Eugene Peterson paraphrases this beautifully;

24 - 25 "These words I speak to you
are not incidental additions
to your life,
homeowner improvements
to your standard of living.
They are foundational words,
words to build a life on.
If you work these words into your life,
you are like a smart carpenter
who built his house on solid rock.
Rain poured down,
the river flooded,
a tornado hit-
but nothing moved that house.
It was fixed to the rock.

The Message

Building our lives
on anything but God's Truth
will result in a shaky foundation -
detrimental to any building project
before it even begins.
We must put in the necessary
hard work of building our lives
and our faith on the solid ground
by daily seeking God
through the Scriptures.

¤ 3. ~ It's good to stay humble enough
    to realise that sometimes
    we need to get professional help.
Some things we can do on our own,
some things we can't.
While many small repairs
can be handled ourselves,
major work must be handled by
those who are skilled and experienced.
The same is true
with the deeper emotional work
in our lives.
There are doctors,
Christian counsellors
and therapists trained
to bring renewed health
and restoration to both body and soul.

¤ 4. ~ Those who don't lose sight
    of the progress being made
    will find joy in the process.
And it's always a process.
Over the last week
the walls have sprung up
and we can see real progress.

Building work makes things worse
in the early stages before
things start to get better
and more beautiful.
The same is true with healing the human heart.

Heart renovations
like home renovations,
take persistence,
patience and a lot of prayer.

But with Jesus as our Master Carpenter,
we can live assured in the process -
we are a beautiful work in progress.
Track the progress you see;
be patient with the setbacks;
celebrate the wins,
even the small ones;
many small wins turn into big wins.

Eventually you will see the beauty
of all the hard work.