TODAY’S FORECAST: Filled
As many of you know, our family built a new house about seven months ago. As the new house has begun to settle and we’ve been through our first real deep freeze and thaw, we’re noticing a few cracks in the basement and a few nail pops that we notified our builder about the other day. Though these types of cosmetic flaws are expected with new constructions, we wanted to just have them looked at to make sure everything was okay. So far it is, which is great news, because we love our house and it took a lot for us to get here, so saying we’re already very attached to it would be an understatement. Anyway, the builder was really responsive, and they sent one of their crew over to take a look at things today and to address some of the outstanding items on our original “punch list.” We’ll do this again at 12 months too, so it’s good to have that security in knowing if anything comes up in the meantime, they are on it! Today, there’s a little pounding, a little mudding, a little sanding going on, to fill the cracks.
I got to thinking that as new Christians, we feel all shiny and new, just like a new construction. You feel clean, whole and more perfect than you’ve ever been. Just as you walk through a new house the first time, freshly painted and carpeted, and you revel in the newness of it all; likewise, you feel much the same when you say “Yes” and become a follower of Christ. As you begin to move into the new house you may see a few dings; maybe the movers accidentally left one from trying to get a piece of furniture through a doorway or someone caught a corner with a box. As a new Christian, the newness begins to fade for you as well, and you start to see the old pieces of self shining through, the imperfections, the cracks, if you will. In both instances it can be a little disheartening.
Fast forward six months to a year. Now the house is settling and you’re seeing the caulk breaking apart a bit in the bathroom or a drywall seam pop from something that maybe didn’t get sanded down quite as well as it should have been. You see a trail of little handprints down the stairwells or something sticky on the dining room wall that definitely wasn’t there before. Carpets look a little less fresh after construction dust settles and even though everyone’s muddy shoes have been nowhere near the new carpets (at least that you know of ;-)), they still look a little different from before. Likewise, for a Christian, the euphoric love you had when you were “brand-new” has also settled a bit. You’re still a new person, God even tells us that it is so in 2 Corinthians 5:1-7 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! but unfortunately, perfection doesn’t secede redemption. It just doesn’t work like that. This can be a very critical point for people in their faith because you truly have to get what has happened to you when you said “Yes” and what the expectation should be after the “settlement period.” I didn’t, at least not for a lot of years. I kept thinking I would do more, be better, so that I would never have anymore cracks and I would stay perfect and shiny, new all the time. The problem is that I kept trying to refill the cracks on my own and they’d come back again, until I finally started to recently figure out that it wasn’t the cracks at all, it was the filler. I tried to read my bible, go to church every Sunday, tried to be nice, tried to be kind and when I didn’t, I could see the cracks start to show themselves. Not that those things aren’t definitely all worthy of our time, but I realized I was trying to fill the cracks, when Jesus is the one who should have been filling them through me. He is the perfect mixture of compound that make the cracks hold. Even though there will continue to be others, if I let Him fill them through me rather than me with my own efforts, there is an amazing surrender that takes place and I find myself back to the place where I am as excited about having a relationship with Him as I was as a new Christian. Reading my bible, going to church, being kind, they’re now not a chore but a need as a reflection of my filler. As with a new construction. it’s like the structural engineer who gives you that certificate that says, “Yep these are cosmetic settlement issues. Your foundation is solid as a rock.” Yes, yes it is. No, yes, HE is. Thank you Lord for filling my cracks.