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Bottoms Don’t Need Protection

September 12, 2013

I recently replaced some boards on our deck that had rot in them. It had been nearly 20 years, I shouldn’t be surprised that one could go bad.

???????????????????What surprised me was that the underside looked nearly like the day I had put it down! The top is brown, cracked, and splintering. But underneath, the boards are smooth and still have the factory color plainly showing.

I have put lots of stain and preservative on the TOP of my deck boards and NONE on the bottom. However, the rot was obvious from the top, but unseen on the bottom. The sun, the rain, and the elements had overwhelmed my inadequate efforts to protect the wood.

If we curl up in a holy huddle and are careful not to be exposed to sin or any other hardship, we don’t find any need for a spiritual preservative. We can carve our safe routine with family, prayer, and worship and keep the glow of faith alive. However, we tend to see no need for anything more. Life is fine, why should I make the effort to engage the outside world? That will only make it harder to live like Jesus.

Really. What percentage of time do you see Jesus spending in isolation? I see him face up, leaning full forward into life. He engaged people broken in soul and body. He confronted people calloused in heart and mind. His earthly life ended with his body broken and buried. He took times of retreat, not to stay safe, but to be prepared for what would come his way.

We can keep our lives covered and protected, untouched and unscathed by the world, but is that God’s design? Insulated, we feel no need for help. Life is good.

However, when we become fully engaged in the mess of the world, we feel a deep need for God. We hunger and thirst for God’s love and grace. When I stain a new board, the paint runs off. When I put stain on a board that has been exposed to the elements, the wood literally soaks it in, seemingly unable to get enough.

What has life done to your soul? If you have remained insulated and protected, you may need nothing. If you have lived life ‘face up’, you need God, you know it, and you are glad!

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