“Hit it with a hammer!” was not the advice I was expecting to hear. I know DIY. I built my own house. So when the balcony floor was leaking into our bedroom because mice found the bitumen coated subfloor to be appetizing, I knew what I had to do. When you have sunken screwheads that are seized due to long exposure to the elements, there can be only one option: Power tools! Big ones! Coupled with newly purchased HSS titanium drill bits (made in the USA no less!) Hoohaa! The screws didn’t stand a chance and the floorboards will be up in no time, I thought to myself. I smugly set to drilling out the 50 plus screws that secured the floorboards down. 3 screws later the first drill bit was blunt. The enormity of the task slowly began to dawn on me and my heart began to sink. I only had 2 drill bits left. My brilliantly conceived plan to effectively and efficiently solve this problem began to disappear in a fog of frustration and despair. It was in that moment I remembered Jesus and thought to ask his advice on the matter. He knows his DIY. He was a carpenter after all. “Hit it with a hammer!” he said. Now that might have been an obvious course of action for some people, mostly because their toolkit only consists of a roll of duct-tape and said hammer. However it is a brilliant and counter-intuitive solution in this situation: The technique is to place the tip of a screwdriver in the screw head (as if you were going to turn it) then tap the butt of the screwdriver with a hammer; apply pressure and twist. Job done.
As each screw eased out I smiled and thanked Jesus not just for his genius but more that he was right there on the floor with me, invested in the minutia of my day and teaching me the excellence of His ways: I had approached a particular problem relying on my own experience and “wisdom” and it produced frustration and despair. The moment I stopped and invited Him in to the fray, a real solution emerged and it produced joy.
So after the hole in the subfloor was repaired and the floorboards replaced, the next job facing me was the electrics. Our downstairs ring main was fried (That’s a technical term for those of you who don’t know). There was a fault somewhere that had caused the wiring to heat up and fuse, making our earth cable “live”. Now I don’t know much about electrics but that didn’t sound good to me. We had a local electrician have a look at the problem and he couldn’t trace the fault. In the end he advised us to do a complete rewire.
Having witnessed some of the local electricians’ work and especially the resulting fires caused, we were somewhat reluctant to employ their services. I was confident that I couldn’t do any worse and took to researching and analyzing the problem. Eventually I arrived at a plan of action but felt a hesitance within myself to begin. Initially I thought this was simply about the prospect of 2-3 weeks of sweaty, dusty work that lay ahead but I’ve never shied away from physical work. Then the thought entered my mind of whether it might be unwise for someone of my inexperience to be dabbling with high voltage electrics? I quickly dismissed this as nonsense! The hesitancy still remained however. I eventually realized that it was actually Jesus telling me to take a step back and have a fresh look at the problem. When I did he suggested that the fault was in the wall between the consumer unit and the first socket. “Just bypass it” he said. And as Jesus knows a thing or two about electrics, having created it and all, I did just as he said! In doing so it revealed the actual problem and meant that I only had to rewire 6 sockets instead of the whole ring main! Taking that moment to stop and pay attention to that still small voice saved me 2 weeks work!
There’s still more building and restoration to do on our house and I look forward to it. I look forward to the process of working alongside Jesus; learning to look at things with His understanding; finding joy in building and creating with Him; getting to know Him and the things around me better; and growing in confidence as he inspires it in me. But this is not just about our house. This is about His house. His Kingdom. This is about Him bringing restoration in the families, communities and nations that surround us. There are so many issues and problems to be addressed: poverty, hunger, disease, corruption and war. The enormity of the task could be overwhelming. That is unless I stop trying to fix the problem with my power drill and HSS titanium drill bits and listen to the Master Builder instead. Sometimes things just need a little tap with a hammer. I’m so looking forward to this restoration project; rolling my sleeves up and getting stuck in with Jesus: my new Foreman.