Life Like a Lewis Toolshed

WP_20150923_11_10_28_ProAs someone with few skills at DIY, I’m rather proud of my new toolshed, which I put up over a couple of days – with occasional help from my good lady.

The shed was originally planned to sit on the earth, on a base of stakes hammered into the ground. But when my friend and local DIY expert Colin was along to see what I planned to do, he immediately disagreed: the shed should sit on concrete, and having some concrete paving at the front of the house, he strongly suggested I make use of that and situate the shed there. He was right, of course, and I’m glad we had the benefit of his advice.

Why did it matter? The answer in one word: wind! This is a very exposed village, with strong wind blowing in off the sea for much of the year, and severe storms occurring each winter. A shed with a weak foundation will not be secure, and if the soil began to shift around the stakes, given the massive force beating against the shed walls, the whole structure could come apart entirely. If I had followed my original plan, I would probably have woken up one winter morning to find the whole thing had disappeared over the garden hedge, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake! Now the shed has a very secure foundation, screwed directly into the concrete. Just to be on the safe side, I’m also going to buckle ratchet straps over the roof for the winter months, again bolted into solid concrete, an anchor against the storm.

It got me thinking: life is like that toolshed. We build our lives, sometimes skillfully and well, sometimes a bit haphazardly: skills and interests, jobs and relationships. We have a veneer on the outside – my shed may be painted in “Rich Oak”, but I know fine that underneath its just flimsy rough sawn pine, and that under the felt is a roof of thin chipboard. Outside is the face we present to the world; underneath are our vulnerabilities and our secrets. Deep down, most of us know that our lives are flimsy, full of mistakes, bad choices, rebellion and ugliness of every kind.

And the time of testing is coming. Just like the winter storms that will test the structure of my toolshed, so the judgment of God will measure the life of every person. Its funny how much thinking we do about approval, wondering what other people will think. But what does God think, Who knows everything? When His wind blows, what will stand that test?

The Bible tells us that life must be built on Jesus Christ, that he is the only foundation that can be trusted. He is the solid rock that endures: ‘Upon this rock, I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’ (Matthew 16:18). Meanwhile, the soil of this world shifts and fragments: a world that is passing way, that will not last, that is not worthy of your confidence.

Why is Christ not moved? Answer: because He has already experienced the full force of God’s judgment, poured out on Him as He suffered over many hours on the Cross. The wind blew, and He endured, until He could say, ‘It is finished’. The wrath of God had spent its force upon Him, as He bore the sins of all His people, until that wrath was finished, and the punishment had been endured.

Will my shed survive the Lewis winter? I am going to find out! But I am confident that it has a strong foundation. The concrete will not move, and provided the structure is sound, nor should the toolshed. More importantly, what about my life? I don’t have much confidence in my good deeds, and I know fine that my veneer can often be shabby enough, let alone what’s underneath. But I trust my foundation: Christ will not be moved. If I am truly built on Him, then I am secure indeed.

What about you?

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