Praise God for Difficult People and Circumstances
Last night, my wife and I came home and discovered that the pipes in our kitchen were frozen. For those of you who have experience with this sort of thing, you realize this is not a small problem.
I normally love winter – bundling up, building fires, hoping the weatherman is actually right about the threat of snow. I even like walking to work as the wind whips my face until I can hardly feel my lips. But last night, as the plumber inspected the situation and told us he was going to have to do some major work to keep this from happening again, I hated winter.
If it weren’t for the single-digit freeze, this never would’ve happened. If only the temperature would always stay in the 20s and 30s, we could have lived in ignorant bliss for years without ever dealing with frozen pipes or plumber bills or shutting off all the water to avoid the pipes bursting. I know it’s irrational – but the truth is, I have thoughts like this in other contexts pretty regularly as well.
Make it Stop, Jesus
There are people and circumstances that God allows into my life that are a lot like an unavoidable, awful, frigid winter. They get under my skin and bring out my bitterness, unforgiveness, impatience, and unkindness. It’s really a problem with me, but I want to blame them for revealing that I’m a man who’s still in need of construction.
Speaking of construction, just yesterday, my five-year-old daughter asked me if we were going to have houses in Heaven. I told her that, in fact, Jesus was building one for her right now, referencing John 14:2, where Jesus says, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
She said, “So Jesus does construction work?”
“He sure does,” I said.
“That’s amazing,” she said.
My five year old is onto something.
Not only is Jesus doing construction work on our homes in Heaven, He’s doing work on our earthly temples as well. And with that in mind, we probably ought to thank God for the people and circumstances that come at us like a cold winter chill and bring out our hidden brokenness. They provide an opportunity for us to invite the Lord to come in and do some needed construction work in our hearts – maybe even a little demolition.
As C.S. Lewis said:
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to?
“The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”