I stood with my feet planted on uneven ground. Behind me a high, unpainted cinder-block wall kept the breeze away. At least it provided some shade, fending off the direct rays of the tropical afternoon sun. Beads of sweat tickled my skin as they slowly dripped down my back. I gripped the metal pole in front of me that was placed perfectly in the hole Dave had dug, awaiting the freshly mixed cement. We were beginning to work on the second fence that would enclose our friend’s backyard.
I looked across the yard to my right, eyeing the gray, wooden fence and gate that we had recently completed. A deep sense of satisfaction bubbled up inside my chest as I surveyed its finished form, remembering the hard work of pouring that cement foundation little by little. Ryan and Dave had mixed each batch by hand. We had gone to the local sawmill to get the lumber for the boards, and then painted them all. And then finally came the fun part of hanging the boards.
Our family had learned early on that 2 to 3 hours of work at a time was our maximum—otherwise the tropical heat and fierce sun would sap our strength for the rest of the day. We also learned to work early in the morning or later in the afternoon when it’s cooler. Cloudy weather was an extra blessing! It had taken about a year to finish that one side of the fence because we would work once or twice a month and were gone to the States in the summer. But now, it was done!
Today we were beginning preparations for the fence on the other side of the yard. Where overgrown jungly vegetation had been, fresh dirt waited to be shaped by our hands to house a new foundation. Two large piles of round rocks sat motionless. The ground where we live is littered with round, smooth river rock. But all those rocks had been unearthed from the soil to make way for the new foundation of the fence.
As I viewed our work—one side of the fence complete after so long, and this side just beginning, it struck me that maybe this is similar to how God works in each of our lives. Of course He isn’t restricted by a hot sun or any of the same limitations we face, but God is patient and takes His time as He works in each of our lives. I imagine that it gives Him great pleasure to see our progress as He gradually sculpts our souls into the image of His son. Perhaps He has the finished product in mind while He continually works in us.
“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”Philippians 1:6
At this point in my life, there are so many things God has taught me and worked in me, like the one side of the fence being complete. But I’m not done yet! Until He calls us home, He continues to work—clearing new ground in our souls; exposing overgrown areas that we have yet to surrender to Him; pulling up the stones of lies we have believed, that were lodged just beneath the surface; preparing to lay a new foundation of the truth of His Word. Then He places the poles of grace and love and humility until the rest of the fence takes shape.
All I need to do is be willing to surrender myself to what He is doing, and cooperate with Him as He pulls up, clears out and breaks new ground. Then as He pours the foundation, I can meditate on the truths of His Word. May we all beautifully surrender to the work of His hands in our souls. It’s worth the wait.
“For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”Hebrews 10:14
“Now may the God of peace…equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”Hebrews 13:20a-21