9th August 2012
What A Mess!
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)
You know you’ve read your full quota of Christian inspirational books when you start finding religious allegories in unlikely parts of your day.
I was having a fight with an ancient hall-and-stair carpet that had really needed replacing years ago, and I thought about me and God. Let me describe the carpet, and you’ll probably get the bit about me and God without my having to get too confessional. There were plenty of circumstances to excuse why I hadn’t replaced it earlier. It had made sense to wait until after the children finished the leaky-nappy and milky-reflux stage, and then the mud-wallowing stage, and then I was too busy/tired, plus being by now seriously short on experience and nerve, and, after all, one of the children was still at the stage of running around spilling drinks and collecting snails….
On the surface, it still looked pretty much like a carpet, and of course the amount of clutter in our hallway disguised some of the wear and staining. In fact it really wasn’t so very worrying until I started pulling at it. But under the surface there were horrible things, not unlike the human heart as described in Jeremiah 17:9, to say nothing of Matthew 23:27!
The carpet had obviously been a previous owner’s DIY attempt, with DIY repairing–nails, tacks and staples were dotted randomly throughout. When moved, the carpet suddenly coughed out enough dust to start a farm, while underneath there were diggings and pupal casings left over from the ants that took me years of chemical warfare to overcome. Going down through the layers of makeshift carpet underlay and offcuts, sellotape, duct tape, glue, carpet spikes, effaced screws, electric wires and broken floor tiles, all weltering in the same brand of dust and grit, I began to feel that the deeper I went, the worse it got. I was glad to finally hit concrete, scratched as it was. It was like feeling firm ground underfoot again (Psalm 40:2).
The messy part excavated, swept, washed, etc, and carpet man booked to come and make it all new again the next week, I decided to consider my lessons learned:
1. On the one hand, you have to get to grips with things that need to be done. (Proverbs 6:6)
2. On the other hand, unaided DIY isn’t necessarily the best way to go. (Proverbs 14:12)
3. It’s worth phoning the carpet man now and then for instructions and reassurance. (Luke 11:9)
4. When the hard work is in progress, that’s when it looks ugliest. Christians might sometimes look a mess too. (Romans 7:14-24)
Holy God, I open my heart for the conviction of your Spirit as to darkness in my life and as to your path of righteousness. I pray that you will reprove, correct and instruct me in righteousness. I pray that you will make all things new. In Jesus’ name.
Study by Fiona Jones