Every morning as I walk into the church, I go right past the construction work on the new building.
The work is going fast. The work is going slow. By slow, I mean a block at a time. Sometimes not even a block at a time. Sometimes it’s just sweeping, or grinding and smoothing something that was freshly put in place.
Sometimes they’ve actually broken up and ruined perfectly good parts of the building that have served us faithfully and well for decades. (I’m thinking of the nice tile porch that was outside the parlor: now ruined, busted up, gone. Of course that’s because that narrow space is being remade into an entirely new use. “A time to tear down…” Solomon said.)
I expect that next summer you and I will be walking back and forth over that spot, over all the spots, and our minds will be focused on all kinds of activities that we only vaguely can think about now. At those moments, absorbed with the new and expanded activities available to us, I doubt I’ll think much about how long it took for us to get there. Or how hot and steamy the summer days were for the crew out there right now slowly and carefully laying blocks into walls and connecting walls into rooms and rooms into a new building.
It’s my life in God’s hands that I’m seeing, displayed in a huge metaphor. Right now the work on my life exhibits a lot of dust and sweat and clutter and even the destruction of some perfectly fine spots that were earned with hard work in the past. They were useful to me for awhile. I wasn’t ashamed to let everyone see them. But God’s hammer is swinging.
What’s already finished seems only partially finished and certainly not what you’d want to have to look at for very long. I’m living with the noise and rattles. A finished look is not yet in sight. I am a mess.
But God is standing there, surrounded by it all. His tools are in one hand, a blueprint in the other. The work goes one slow day at a time. (And if I stop to look at the details, sometimes I’m aware of the great care being taken even at hidden levels.)
It’s not the devil in those details. It’s the Master Carpenter, still creating things seen and unseen. Give Him time.