This past year my wife and I, being home owners, that it was time to remodel the bathroom. We had heard the rough estimates around that stated that a bathroom remodel could run as much as $10,000. We figured that would be a little high because we have a super tiny bathroom and we don’t have expensive taste. When we started to receive estimates that number was pretty accurate. So, we decided we would do it ourselves and save some money. What we were not ready for was the trials that came.
In the title above I stated that there were lessons to be learned. I could easily say the lesson learned was patience and bring this little post to a conclusion. As we started tearing out the old shower surround we learned that however installed the shower never waterproofed it. My shower area was saturated from the last shower, I had mold in the walls, rotten wood, and to make the project more “fun” the plaster was moldy and just crumbling off the walls. The more I tore out the more I realized this project was going to test my patience. To be honest, there were times in that first couple of days I just wanted to write the check and pay someone else to do it. The project is not yet done and so there are still days I want to write a check and have someone else do it. I have indeed had to be patient, but that is not really the biggest lesson I learned.
After tearing into this bathroom I saw several jobs that were done incorrectly, improperly and flat out dangerous. (I even had a light that was never wired correctly. How it never set a fire is beyond me. The wires themselves were clearly running hot as they were discolored.) I know why they did it this way. It was faster, cheaper, and got a “finished” product with little hassle. But, faster, cheaper, a little work is not always a recipe for success.
This got me thinking about the way in which people try to “work on” their faith. They try to throw things together in the simplest, easiest way they can imagine and their faith is desperately failing them. “Foxhole” religion is one that instantly comes to mind. There used to be a saying that there are no atheists in foxholes. I know that is not entirely true. But the point was not whether the proverb was 100% accurate, but that in a time of great distress it is not uncommon to find a person turn to God. As the book of Jeremiah comes to a conclusion many of the Israelites were calling out to God. They were pleading for his mercy. They wanted to know that he hadn’t forsaken them. But, had they listened to Jeremiah’s message all along, they would have known that God even told Jeremiah to stop praying for these people (Jer. 7:16; 11:14; 14:11). It was not that God didn’t love Israel. The problem was that God grew tired of Israel’s never ending cycle of obedience, apostasy, oppression, repentance, deliverance, and then repeating. Since the days of the judges that tripped over the same mistakes over and over again. God wanted Israel to break the cycle. To do this, he had to break the cycle himself. Judah would not be delivered from their enemies this time.
Sometimes in order to rebuild we must 1st tear down. I had hoped that I could just rip out the old shower surround. I was wrong. I had hoped that I could just remove some of the rotten plaster. I was wrong. The entire area around the shower has to come out. I had to redo all the plumbing. I have to redo the electricity. For some, their faith is much the same. When they learn that they built their faith with worthless things, they have to break themselves down to their very core and start again. In I Cor. 3:11-15 Paul spoke of being tried by fire. Each man builds his faith upon the foundation of Jesus Christ. However, not everyone builds with that which withstands the tests of time, trials and tribulations. Some, they end up being broken down to their very core. Broken down so hard that all they have left is Jesus Christ. This is not a bad thing. When this happens you end up stripping away all that never should have been there in the 1st place. It is not necessarily pleasant when you first start, but in the end, there is great reward.
One more lesson I learned. Learn from mistakes. Now that I have this bathroom stripped down, I know that I need to do the job correctly. It does not do me any good to fail to waterproof that bathroom. It would be foolish to put up new walls only to let it rot again. When it comes to my faith, I must repent. Repentance is not just saying you are sorry. It is a making an about face and changing course. Let me put it in an easy to understand scenario. If you stepping outside and tripped over a bag someone placed just outside your door what do you do? Most of us would pick up the bag and put it where it belongs. How many of us would leave the bag alone? What would you do if you tripped over it a second time? A third? Fourth? Why we would think of such a person as being incredible ignorant to continue to trip over the bag. Likewise, it would be incredibly foolish to continue to trip over the same sin in our lives and do nothing about being better.