Water is a dirty word in our house at the moment. It is leaking through our roof. When it isn’t raining outside, it is still ‘raining’ inside our loftspace because we have massive condensation dripping from the insulation, causing things to go mouldy.
One of our downstairs taps is leaking and yesterday I discovered that our boiler might be leaking too. Every night I go to bed staring up at a growing damp patch on our ceiling wondering whether this is the night when it will collapse. Water is a dirty word in our house at the moment.
How does the gospel affect all this?
The leaking roof was the first thing I noticed. (In fact, technically it was the non-water-related rodent incidents – but that is another story, although as you will see there is a sense in which this is all of a piece.)
I was thankful that it seemed to be leaking in a place where we didn’t store anything, and it made me conscious of how much ‘stuff’ we have accumulated that our loft should be so full of it. Time to de-clutter perhaps?
The verses that kept on coming back to me were Matthew 6:19-21:
“Do not store up for yoursleves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do no break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
This was a comfort and a perspective-restorer. The mould which was appearing all over the place in our increasingly damp home felt like a clear example of moth and rust type decay. And ultimately these things are not important in the light of eternity.
After Christmas I was fortunate to have some time off work. And as I looked around the house it was full of things to do. But I also wanted to spend time with my daughters. Investing in them is surely more important than leaks and shelves. But though my head knew this I still felt torn much of the time.
And since then, as one thing after another seems to have gone wrong, it is hard to fight for the right perspective. Ironically I used the security we sometimes place in a house as an illustration last Sunday – my head knows that my house is not the root of my security. But my heart finds itself being slowly depressed by the damp.
And as I have reflected on what is going on in my heart, I realise that in many ways the issue isn’t the water. You see, I’m no DIY man, and so these situations inevitably leave me at the mercy of someone else. The ‘expert’. Who will scratch his head and draw breath through his mouth in a way which can only indicate large quantities of money will be required.
And there was a time when the money would have been the worry. But our church is very generous with us and over the years God has demonstrated time and again His abundant provision and faithfulness in all these areas. So the issue actually turns out to be an issue of control. This wasn’t the plan I had for my life (or my house!) at this time. There’s a problem surrounding me and I can do nothing about it on my own. Does that sound familiar?
And the external pressures are matched by the ongoing internal life-battles in which you feel the same helplessness. Will I never conquer this particular sinful tendency of thought or behaviour? Will I never be the sacrificial husband I am called to be? Will I never be the patient, consistent, Godly example to my daughters I long to be?
And the answer is no. And for this we have Jesus. And He loves me in spite of my weakness and my failures and my desires for control. And He forgives me when I get it wrong. (And He loves my daughters more than I ever could, and has plans for them too) And He urges me not to worry about that water, but to come to Him and drink.