[Don’t despise these small beginnings]
Andrew and I understand small beginnings quite well. When we married, neither of us had a penny to our name. Andrew found a decent paying job, but within only a few years he began to exhibit symptoms that something wasn’t quite right with his health. Then, he had an on the job injury, which caused some more difficulties, and it wasn’t long before he was going job to job and we were struggling financially. The trials didn’t end there. Andrew’s health problems progressed, but God’s mercies didn’t stop either. I’m sure that some might argue the truth of this if they viewed every detail of our life together through the wrong lens, but there’s always so much more than meets the eye.
“Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.” – 2 Corinthians 6:10
Yes, we’ve been denied a lot in our 22 years of marriage (almost 23 years now!). Only 2 years in we also found out that we were unable to have children, and some years further down the road I too began to have my own health problems. This caused more things to be denied. Our “normal” has felt far from normal, but the work that God’s been doing isn’t surface work. It’s not, as they say on home improvement shows, just “lipstick.” The work that He does gets into every corner, and behind every wall.
“Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.” –Psalm 127:1
If you’ve ever watched an episode of any Mike Holmes show (Holmes on Homes; Holmes Inspection; Holmes Makes it Right, or Holmes: Buy it Right), you’ll begin to understand what I mean by there’s more than meets the eye. It’s what’s behind the walls that’s always the question, and sometimes a house needs to be completely gutted before it can be renovated and rebuilt to God’s specks. When the critters have gotten into the attic, or mold and asbestos has been uncovered, it’s got to go! It’s time for an abatement. A remediation is in order.
The truth is, Andrew and I still have trials that we have to contend with, and we still don’t have a penny to our name, yet God continues to supply for all of our needs and uses these challenges, with exacting measurements, for His purpose. If our body is a temple, then these bodies are the homes that God intends on building right, and anything that we’ve been denied, or has to go, is offset by the result of that labor and the treasures that still await us in heaven.
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” –1 Corinthians 15:58
What I’ve learned through the process is that life here may not progress and change in the way that we expect or hope it will. Outwardly, things may appear exactly the same. Much like when Mike Holmes reveals a repair that has only fixed what was behind those walls, the upgrade isn’t always so evident until the whole story is told.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand —Zechariah 4:10