This past winter, our family decided to renovate the kitchen in the cabin at our waterfront property on the coast of British Columbia, Canada. We had to rip out the old cupboards and wallboard, trash the old rusty range, roll up the carpet, and then redo the wiring, drywall, plumbing, and cabinetry. We did all the work ourselves. It took many trips, because we couldn't stay more than a couple of days at a time; life at home has to go on!
One of the tasks that we undertook was to install new vinyl plank flooring. Each plank was 9 inches wide, 48 inches long, and 5 millimetres thick. We laid out 8 planks end-to-end along the 32-foot-long floor, and discovered that the wall was not straight! After snapping a chalk line along the best layout of the planks, I began gluing down the first plank. It was then that I realized how critical was the orientation of the first plank in relationship to the chalk line, which was now blurred under the glue on the floor. It needed to be aimed in exactly the right direction.
The planks are very accurately engineered and are unforgiving of errors in fitting them together. We had to be extremely careful to align precisely the ends and sides of adjoining planks. Otherwise, the next row would not fit, and there would be unacceptable gaps between the rows. When we got to the end of the long room, we were pleased that the narrow gap between the planks and the wall was only 1/4-inch less than we had planned. Our aim had been good.
The whole exercise was an analogy of life. The planks — God's laws — represent the truth about life. They are straight and square, and are unforgiving in the sense that when we do not live by them (as we inevitably fail to do), or when we try to bend or reshape their meaning to fit our desires, there are always consequences — nothing fits, and confusion results. In many ways, how we start out in life determines the direction that we are taking and where we will end up. Fortunately, God is forgiving, so when we get off the track, we can repent and start over. God will draw a new line on the floor of our lives to start a new section, and we can head off in a new direction — His direction. Then, everything will fall into place, straight and square, and life fits together in the way that He intended all along.
Isaiah 55:6-9 – Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." (NKJV)
Prayer: Lord, inevitably, we don't end up in life where we thought we would, because we didn't start out straight with You. Forgive us, and reset the direction of our lives so that we will end up where You want us — close to Yourself. This we pray, in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Lord I'm Coming Home" (Lyrics)