Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fill 'Em Up!

It's white and cakey, almost like the texture of Noxzema, but without the smell. Pastor Marlow, the GC of our River House project, dipped his pointer finger in and began to demonstrate how to apply it to the nail holes in the freshly primed, wooden door frame. Patch and Paint works just like magic. After you fill the holes and wipe away the excess residue, it's as if there never were any. Pretty easy and mindless work, but necessary before painters would be able to set about to paint. This was my task. I was the designated nail filler. For a few hours, I went from room to room, inspecting all the windowsills and door frames and filling the nail holes upstairs in the River House.

An hour into this project, the irony suddenly hit me. On Sunday, I created a fabric collage illustrating the infamous story, Nails in the Fence, by an unknown author. I received it quite some time ago as a forward via email. It tells the story of a little boy who had a very bad problem controlling his anger. He was instructed to hammer a nail into the fence each time he lost his temper. When he was able to control himself, he could remove a nail. The day finally came when the boy was able to fully control his anger and had removed all the nails. His father was pleased, but pointed out to him that the fence would never be the same again, much as it is with people whom we have hurt with sharp and cutting words.

I can only surmise this story was written before Patch and Paint, but it caused me to ponder, how do we repair those holes in people?

Isaiah 61:1 and 4 read, "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,... They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations."

I pulled out my cell phone and looked down at the time-4:58 p.m. It was time to clean up and head home. "Have a good one," I called out to the two carpenters chatting in the front room.

After I scrubbed off the excess Patch and Paint caked on my hands and wiped them dry, I saw Pastor Marlow heading out the back door. "Thanks for doing that," he commented.

"No problem. It's pretty easy and mindless work, but needs to get done," I responded. He nodded in agreement. I then proceeded to ask, "It's pretty easy fixing holes in wood, but how do you do it in people?" I could tell by the look on his face he wasn't expecting that one. He turned around with this blank stare as if to say, "Where did that one come from?"

When I brought up the passage in Isaiah, he explained, "Some people's lives are just destroyed. They're full of nail holes. They have to believe. God can restore, but they have to believe."

We all know, they can not believe unless they have first been told. However, I believe it is just as important, if not more so, that we be willing to get ourselves caked in the white creamy balm of God's love and forgiveness so as to reach out and touch those wounded and in need of repair. Jesus repairs and restores, but He works through our hands.

No comments:

Post a Comment