Life is Hard!

I am a strong believer that God uses everything that happens in life to teach us something about Himself if we will just listen to His Spirit and allow Him to instruct us. Then I search God’s Word to see what God has specifically said regarding what the Spirit has impressed upon my mind.

I am a pen turner and I love to work at my lathe. I have learned many things about life as I work at my lathe. Each step of the process in turning a piece of wood or antler into a pen is painful to the material with which I am working. The process includes cutting, drilling, shaping, sanding, polishing, friction, and pressure. But when the process is complete the material has been transformed; it has new beauty, value, and purpose. Something of little value now has greater value, all because it endured a painful process! Life is full of difficulties and it easy to become overwhelmed. But there is a purpose behind each hardship; they are all part of a process to shape and mold us into some of greater value and purpose. My desire in writing this blog is to encourage and maybe stir up some conversation with the lessons that God has been teaching me through the painful process of life. Life is hard, but God is good. May He continue working His process in my life.

If you are going to read any of my posts be sure to ready "Introduction to Lessons from the Lathe". In that post I lay out the basis for all the other blogs.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Few Good Friday Lessons Learned Through Plumbing Repair

Today is Good Friday and I was enjoying the morning reading my Bible and contemplating God’s great love for us, displayed through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Suddenly Smokie, our cat, came flying up the stairs howling like a banshee. I thought she needed to go outside so I went to open the door for her; it was then that I heard the sound of water splashing on the floor. That is not a good sound; it means that there is a problem that needs immediate attention. I went to the basement to investigate and found that the sewer line had blown a cap and sewage was spilling onto the floor of my workshop! Talk about a nasty problem.
I immediately went upstairs and told the kids not to us the toilets, sinks, or shower. Then it was back to the basement to begin a job that I really did not desire to do! It took two trips to the hardware before I had what I needed and the actual repair of the sewer line was fairly easy. What was nasty was the clean up after. I had to suck up all the filth, sludge, and water with my shop vac, and then clean my shop vac. I had to get some air freshener to help to reduce the stench. And after all that was finished I had to go take a good shower and wash my filthy clothes. It was not a fun job, I did not enjoy it one bit, but it had to be done. When all was finished there was a sense of satisfaction that my family could once again use the plumbing in the house without problems and return to the basement without having to bear the stench of the filth.
Now you may be wondering what all this has to do with Good Friday. How does repairing a sewer line and cleaning up a nasty basement compare in any way with Christ dying on the cross? I am a strong believer that God uses everything that happens in life to teach us something about Himself if we will just listen to His Spirit and allow Him to instruct us. Then I search God’s Word to see what God has specifically said regarding what the Spirit has impressed upon my mind. So here are a few lessons that I have learned from this situation:
1.       You need to know that you have a problem before you can do anything about it. If Smokie had not gone nuts, I would have known that there was a problem that needed my attention. The filth would have continued to accumulate where it was not supposed to go.
Scripture tells us that man has a sin problem, which we aren’t even aware of unless someone points it out to us.
·         Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.”
·         Romans 3:10-12, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.”
·         Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
2.       Sin is like the filth that was spewing onto my basement floor. It stinks! I wanted desperately to just close the door and walk away. It made me want to wretch. Scripture tells God is holy; He cannot even look upon sin.  At noon, during Christ crucifixion,  it became dark as God actually turned His face away as Jesus took on Himself the sins of the world (Mark 15:33-34.)
3.       Someone has to do something about the problem. As soon as I was aware of the situation, I set about doing something to correct it. I stopped the kids from using the plumbing until I could make the necessary repairs, I went to the store and got the material I needed, I made the repairs, and then I cleaned up the mess. I didn’t ask the kids to do it because I knew that it was a job that they could not do. 
Scripture tells us that God did something about our sin because we were unable to do it ourselves.
·         John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. That whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
·         2 Corinthians 5:21, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
·         Romans 5:8, “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!”
4.       The repair that I did this morning took care of the problem and, hopefully, we will be able to use the plumbing for years to come without any further problems. But at some point in time the old sewer line will need to be replaced.  
The work that Christ did on the cross to take care of our sin issue is a permanent, once for all solution. Scripture says that:
·         2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
·         1 Peter 3:18, “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.”
·         Hebrews 10:12-14, “But this man, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.  He is now waiting until His enemies are made His footstool.  For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified.” 
5.       All that the kids needed to do in order to enjoy the benefits of the repair to the plumbing was to take my word that it was taken care of and use it. The work was complete; there was nothing more needed to be done than to flush away.
The same is true of the work that Christ has done on the cross. He did everything that was necessary. All that we need to do is accept His finished work by faith.
·         Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
·         Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”
·         Titus 3:4-5, “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love
for mankind appeared, He saved us— not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”
I am so thankful that Jesus took it upon Himself to do a work that I could not do for myself. I am thankful that He dealt with all the filth, stench, and total depravity of my sin. The very thing that made me unacceptable to a Holy God, Jesus Christ removed through His death, burial, and resurrection. I am so thankful that through faith in His finished work He has made me a new creation; not just fixed my problem, but made me completely new! I am so thankful that God gave me a vivid, yet totally unpleasant, illustration of the work which He has done for me. Happy Good Friday friends; God has done all that is necessary to remove the filth in our lives and make us completely new in Him!