Monday, May 20, 2019

Detour me

It seems like every road I take to work these days is riddled with construction! We cannot turn left at some intersections, whittle down to one lane in others, and are detoured in directions we have to rely upon GPS guidance to maneuver! The inconvenience is made all the more unbearable by the rudeness of those who think they can avoid the longer waits by moving to the head of the line and cutting in around all of us who have waited our turn to make it through! It brings me back to elementary school all over again when you'd frequently hear the cries of "No Cutting" called whenever someone tried that in the cafeteria line! The benefits of the construction projects are hard to imagine when you are enduring the agony of the months of torn up roadways, but when they finally reopen that intersection with wider and safer turn lanes, you suddenly understand it from a different perspective. It makes sense on the other side of that construction, even though it seemed unbearable whilst it was underway.

"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. 
But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don't work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards." (Matthew 7:24-27)

The same is true in our lives - we are almost continually "under construction". That construction process involves quite a bit of noise on our part - usually complaining, whining, and statements about not understanding what is going on! We deal with a lot of mess - because our lives are more than a little messy at times. We certainly view the constructive processes of our lives as less than convenient, as they rarely "fit" our schedule! They give us 'detours' we may not have wanted and we get a little wigged out when the delays are significant. Jesus tells his disciples are life lessons that need to be "worked into the core" of their lives. In other words, they are the foundation of all they are to be, will do in this lifetime, and what they will experience. As is the case with our torn up roadways, the "cement" or foundation of our lives is poured, smoothed out, and takes form by the skilled work of his hands. It is not a quick project - it takes time to get it right!

The better the foundation, the stronger the structure. The process of preparing us for the foundation to be laid is as important as pouring that which will bring the sure and certain foundation into our lives. The ground of our hearts and minds must be prepared to receive what God is doing. The recesses of what brings "unevenness" into our lives must be explored so that the things that would "trip us up" are removed. The potential for 'sink-holes' in our lives must also be explored - because what is just underneath what appears to be a hard or firm surface may not be as reliable as we'd like to imagine. Then, and only then, is the ground prepared for the receiving of the "cement" of his Word. That "poured out" Word has to be smoothed out into all the corners of our lives - taking on the form Jesus desires to see within us. Just as with the cement, the Word is carefully eased into the corners, worked and reworked, in order to get out all the tiny "bubbles" that would form weak areas if they remained. God is careful in his design because it is paramount to the success of the next phases of our usefulness! He takes time to "form us" so that we don't just take the Word in, and then it dries up and is worthless in purpose or design.

There is a design to the work being done in each of these roadway construction areas this morning on my way into work. There is an even greater design in what God is doing in our hearts! He is about the process of "molding" us into what it is that will bring him honor, bring others access to him, and give us usefulness in his hands. These Words are what give us strength, allow us to pass from one stage of growth to another, and give passage to the waters of the storms that come. We cannot escape the "construction" work of the Word - if we do, we are certain to have cracked foundations, weak spots, impassable areas of our hearts, and little shelter from the storms of life. It is by his hand that we were formed - it is out of his heartfelt love that we receive his Word. What we allow to be formed within us is what will become foundational to all we do and become in life. Just sayin!

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