Today, I was working on the demolition of the bedroom in the south apartment. The wood lathe and plaster walls were falling down today and the tools of the trade were two crowbars of differing sizes and my old trusty hatchet.
This first picture is the east interior wall of the bedroom on the other side is a closet and the kitchen. The trick of the day for removing the lathe and plaster is to cut a square in the plaster with the hatchet and then smack it in a few places in the middle and then the plaster just comes rolling off of the wood lathe. Then, you take a crowbar and pull the slats off. Usually the wood slats are in pretty good condition and so can be reused for something else. I will be reusing them to make something wonderful but as of yet, I’m not sure what that will be.
This next picture shows the west exterior wall of the bedroom and as you can see, there is no insulation in the walls so, it is very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. This of course is a real problem and the entire house is like this so similar measures will be taken throughout the house.
The next picture in our demolition slideshow is of the heap of plaster on the floor after removing a portion of the south wall and half of the west wall and then some of the wood lathe pieces in a pile in the middle of the floor. Also, at the very bottom of the wood lathe pile is the very useful crowbar of lathe destruction.
During the process of the demolition I kept having this concept of rebirth and growth in our relationship with God. So here goes:
Oftentimes remodeling a house is like a developing a continuing relationship with God and our spouse. Like an old house we come into the relationship with a lot of old building ideas and many beautiful things that are tarnished and broken but through a meticulous demolition and rebuilding process, we are made whole again with the Father. This reminds me of the passage of scripture from Ephesians ch2 v13-22:
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”
When we come to God for help in rebuilding our lives and marriages and renewing our hearts and minds it can be a messy process at first. Like in the passage, God will destroy the barrier that keeps us from Him and like This Old House that is a messy and challenging process that takes time and effort and a lot of patience. At times we will see nothing but the piles of dust and dirt that consisted of our old selves and it can be discouraging and sometimes very unpleasant (especially when you get a lungful of plaster dust because you didn’t wear a mask while tearing down a wall and you just hope beyond hope that in 1865 asbestos was not a major ingredient in lathe and plaster walls). Unlike a house remodel where we usually have the end result already pictured in our minds and we have every step planned out and the general timeline for the project, we don’t always know exactly what the end result of God’s plan for rebuilding our lives is. We must trust in God because he promises that it is a good plan and a wonderful plan and if you doubt this read Jeremiah 29:11:
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”
In the continuation of the passage from Jeremiah, it lays a foundation for us to pray and seek God. He promises that if we pray He will listen, if we seek Him with our whole heart we will find Him, and He will bring us back from captivity. Like the remodeling process, rebuilding a relationship with our spouse and with God is not a lazy process. We must be fully committed to seeing it through to the end even though God alone knows where that is. We must remain diligent in praying and seeking with our whole heart. God will reveal himself in time and in time will be faithful to perfectly rebuild what was torn down.
Throughout the process of rebirth, God will reveal that like this old house our previous lives were mostly built on an archaic and sometimes faulty building code. Like the walls in the house, there is nothing to insulate our interior from the summer of sin and the winter of despair but like all things God has provided the solution through His son Jesus. Jesus acts as the R-30 insulation for our walls protecting us from the elements of life that keep us from having a strong relationship with the Father. God has also provided a new building code and it is more than 5/8” drywall and 6’ spacing on wall outlets, it is the Bible, it is the foundation for our life and the instruction manual to help us live in closer communion to Him so that in time he can reveal his plan in us and as the scripture passage from Ephesians 2:22 says “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit”