Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Going from A to Z

This past few days we finally replaced our older, on-its-last-legs tv, with a newer more state of the art tv. The newer tv is much bigger than the older one and would have never fit into the ancient entertainment center we had so not only did the old tv have to go, the old entertainment center also had to go and be replaced with a newer more functional version. Before that could happen though we needed to move another cabinet into the game room to hold the old tv (now the xbox monitor). Before we could do that, we had to unload a 6 foot bookcase and then move that bookcase into the living room and re-shelve all the books. Once we did that, we had to move the air hockey table. Before we moved the air hockey table we had to move the foosball table up to the loft where the kids play. To get the foosball table up there we had to remove some parts, then very carefully manuever the table down the game room stairs, through the kitchen and then up the loft stairs. After a few wall-scraped knuckles and some silly, uncontrollable laughing that nearly caused us to drop it, we finally managed to get the game table moved into the loft.

So to set up our new tv and new stand, we had to:

Unload the book case
Move the bookcase
Reload the bookcase
Vaccum the carpet behind where it was
Run the carpet cleaner over the area
Clean out a tv cabinet
Move the tv cabinet into the game room
Take the old tv out of the entertainment center
Put the old tv (and xbox) into the cabinet
Remove all electronic components from the EC
Remove the old surround sound wires
Disassemble the old entertainment center
Run the vaccum and carpet cleaner over that area
Wash the wall behind where the old entertainment center was
Move the foosball table
Move the air hockey table
Bring in a chair from the living room (for the xbox station)
Assemble the new tv stand

Finally after all that was done we could put the new tv on the stand, then hook up all the extras (dvd player, sat box, stereo components). It was a lot of work, it was messy, and it took a lot longer than we hoped it might. By the time we were done with all the big tasks, we were exhausted, bruised, bloody-knuckled and more than ready to just sit down and rest. While the hard work is done, there are still some very large prints that had to be taken off the walls and they're still leaning against a wall, and I still need to run the vaccum one more time to finish the whole area off. Oh how nice it would have been to just bring the tv home and enjoy it without all that work!

As I was drifting off to sleep last night, it occured to me just how similar this is to my spiritual life, much of the time. Indeed, I want to go from A to Z by skipping B through Y completely, thank you very much. I don't want the bloody knuckles, the mess, the frustration, the exhaustion, the trial and error, the confusion, or any of that. It reminds me of the old joke "please Lord give me patience, and please give it to me NOW!" As much as it would have been wonderful to just bring the new tv home and begin enjoying it, it didn't work that way as there was a lot of hard work to be done before that could happen. The same is exactly true about our spiritual state. Growing in grace requires time and circumstances and events that cause us to mature and depend more and more on God's goodness and faithfulness. Learning how to be content requires being in situations time and time again where we are not at all content and quite frankly are often miserable and hate the situation with every fiber of our being. No, we don't wake up one day and find that we've skipped B through Y and suddenly we're a shining vessel of grace, fully at peace with all things and entirely resting in God's goodness. It would sure be amazing, but it does not happen that way.

It takes a lot of work, a lot of humility, and it's messy, painful, exhausting, challenging and often very unpleasant. The good news is, He's there every step of the way and He will in fact, finish what He started in us. We are His workmanship and while the road of sanctification may be very rough at times, it's all worth it in the end.

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