When it rains, it pours, as the old saying goes. Let’s reword that a bit for spiritual purposes. “When He reigns, He pours!” To be clear, however, please understand it’s not a question of whether or not He is reigning since He is sovereign all of the time and in all circumstances, of course. Instead, this intentional rewording proclaims He is capable of accomplishing more than we can ever begin to imagine all of the time. The limitations imposed are ours and not His.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)
If one exclamation point is instructive, then certainly a second one is even better. Such is the framing of this latest post. The first exclamation point, “His Sound Affection,” is barely a few days old, and now comes this second one hot on the heals of the first and an even older post beyond that, as well.
Yes, the use of “heals” rather than “heels” is very much intentional in this well-known phrase because the Lord is white-hot when it comes to His commitment towards healing (building) His children. Exchanging these identically pronounced words in this particular instance seems very right and thought-provoking to me. Indeed, our Lord, Jesus, endured so much for our healing.
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)
Let’s take a short detour down one more side street before diving fully into today’s post for just a moment. I can’t help but wonder what remarkable things we miss when we choose to bypass pathways that present themselves to us because they appear to be “out of our way.” Yes, this is but another way of saying, “let’s stop and smell the roses.”
Given that we are discussing exclamation points, it’s fascinating to note the “!” physical location on a computer keyboard relative to another symbol’s location. If you look at your keyboard, you’ll see the “!” and the “1” share the same key. Coincidence? Maybe so. But maybe not.
From my perspective, I find it extremely interesting that there is but the One (1) God, who, if we were to assign a punctuation mark to in an attempt to describe Him, must undoubtedly be an exclamation point (!) to my way of thinking. After all, He is exceptional and worthy of nothing less! Will you ever look at your keyboard in the same way again now that you’re aware of that shared association? I can’t, and it’s my hope you won’t be able to either.
In my previous post, we discussed how we are an “ongoing project that is very much under His construction.” Today’s post is a continuation, an exclamation, if you will, of that thought.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve enjoyed watching the new two-story townhome construction that is ongoing less than a minute’s walk from our house. All of the ebbs and flows of building construction fascinate me. Great strides are made at various times, followed by periods where things seem to stand still. All in all, it’s an intriguing and compelling process to observe.
After what seemed like forever, it finally came time to install the windows into the roughed-in townhomes. However, the workers didn’t install all of the window units leaving a few holes glaringly unfinished. Much to my amazement, those holes stayed that way for a long time following the initial window installation. It was nothing but neglect as far as I was concerned.
I couldn’t figure out why the workers were seemingly ignoring this part of the job for the longest time. The window units themselves were on site, yet the holes for the windows remained dark and unfinished for an uncomfortably long time as far as I was concerned. Over the next few weeks, the roofers, electricians, and the heating and air conditioner workers all came and went.
Every day I’d walk by the building site and wonder, “What in the world were the builders thinking leaving these holes open like this? There those few unplaced window units are stacked up in the garage; go ahead and install them for heaven’s sake!”
My lack of building construction understanding is showing here. How little I truly understand about the entire process. If you’re more familiar with construction than I am, then you’ve probably already figured out why those holes were left unfinished in the first place. And it’s an excellent reason, by the way.
In 20-20 hindsight, I now understand the window openings were left undone so that large, heavy materials, such as sheetrock, in this case, could be delivered through them via a monstrous, telescoping loader to the upstairs portion of the townhomes. Let me now state the obvious: it turns out the builders knew so much more than I ever gave them credit for knowing by leaving the window openings undone. In other words, they knew what they were doing all along.
There’s a simple but essential principle to take away from this lesson, spiritually speaking. Aren’t we all guilty of that same sort of off-base thinking at one time or another when it comes to examining what God is doing in our lives as well? I have to admit there are times when I think the Lord has gotten things out of order in the middle of the construction phase He has underway. And that not just concerning His plans for me, but for other people and their circumstances as well.
When I see unfinished openings, it concerns me. “Put the window in, now. The opening is ready, and the parts are here ready to go.” I say. The Master Builder replies, “Be patient. I have my excellent reasons to leave it incomplete at this moment. I’m still working in this area, and there is much to be accomplished. There is more to this unfinished hole than you realize. The opening needs to remain as it is for now.”
“Woe to him who strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth! Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ Or shall your handiwork say, ‘He has no hands’? Isaiah 45:9 (NKJV)
A few years ago, I discussed pretty much this same issue in my post entitled, “the (s)Parking lot.” I’m a slow learner, it seems. Is that why I’m again revisiting that few-year-old post for that very same reason? Hmmmmm. Or, is there something more to this struggle beyond my being a slow learner, which I’ve thought to be primarily a patience issue? Is it possible there’s more to the unfinished spiritual window opening as I’ve previously understood it this entire time?
And suddenly, I now realize there is so much more to this hole beyond my battle with impatience.” Yes, I see the issue behind the issue more clearly now. My struggle with patience finds its beginning with a still more profound problem. I also struggle with giving up control to Him.
“There is more going on in your life than you can ever see. I see the big picture while you can only focus on only a small portion of the (re)construction project I know as you. You’re going to have to trust me for all of it, both the big and the little picture. When you do that, you’ll find you have a lot more patience along the way.”
Carrie Underwood, “Jesus Take the Wheel,” from the album, “Some Hearts.”
Lord, Help me remember that I am Your building project that is very much a work in progress. I’ve got a considerable number of barnacles attached to me that You’re in the process of removing from me, as well. In their place, You are creating within me beauty as only You can create, and doing that right requires Your perfect timing. Forgive me for my impatience as You work to build me into the person You have called me to be. Help me to let go of my ways so that I can more fully know Your ways, for the work of Your hands is good, Lord. Mold me and shape me after Your will. Your purposes, not mine, Your plans, not mine, Your way, not mine. You are my Creator, and I am Your created. In Jesus’ name, amen 1!1!1!1!1!1!1!1!1!
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29 (NKJV)
“Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name. I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name forevermore.” Psalm 86: 11-12 (NKJV)
Casting Crowns, “In The Hands Of The Potter” from the album, “Only Jesus.”