out of plumb

My dad is a man of many talents.  Cabinet-maker, contractor, roofer, fixer of all things electronic and mechanical.  He went on dozens of volunteer trips while I was a kid, building and fixing things for missionaries all over the world. My senior year in high school, he took me on a trip to Guatemala, to help finish some newly remodeled apartments.  The building had originally been a duplex, and right before we arrived, a team of volunteers from Houston had put up some walls to make it into a four-plex.

As soon as we arrived, my dad went to look at the job site, and discovered a problem.

The newly-constructed walls were about six inches out of plumb.  Crooked as a dog's hind leg.  The Leaning Tower of Guatemala.

My dad was supposed to build cabinets to hang on these walls.  And he knew it could not be done.

So he went to the leader of the team who had built the walls, and told him about the problem.

And the man said this:  "Praise the Lord.  The Lord will fix those walls."  And then the next day, he and his team got on the plane and went back to Houston.

Well, the Lord did indeed fix those walls.  But mainly he used my dad to do it.

I've been thinking about that story lately because it seems to apply so much to therapy.

We are well aware that a remodel is required.  We want new kitchen cabinets.

But as soon as we start to really look around, we know that the walls are way out of plumb.  And the new cabinets, while much-needed, can't go in until the walls get straight.

That is often not a high point in therapy for my client.

It's not fun for me, either.  I feel like the Grinch who stole Christmas, telling people that we're in for a gut job.

But God has started a good work in all of us, and He intends to complete it.

A lot of times, the next step in the good work is being willing to admit that we didn't know what else to do, so we built a crooked wall.  And now it's in the way of bigger and better things, and it needs to go.

I've also been mulling this story over in my head this weekend because it's Easter.

We're commemorating and celebrating the Sacrifice that obliterated the wall between us and God.

And that wall came down, not with the wave of a magic wand.

But with blood.  And sweat.  And tears.

That terrible, horrible, offensive process on the road to redemption.

And it's like that for us, too, when we take up our cross to follow.

There is pain and suffering and sorrow and grief to be borne.

But there is also a purpose in it.  Our Redeemer lives.  And He is at work, making all things new.

Not just so we can have eternal life, someday.  But so that we can have a life of abundance and freedom, today.

The crooked straight, and the rough places plain.

If you need a little Mumford for today, here you go.  One of the loveliest songs I know about process, and loving those in it (even when that someone is me).


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