I started working on this idea for a blog long before Hurricane Harvey ever existed. It has so much more meaning to me now and I hope it brings you a little peace as well.
For a large portion of our great Lone Star state, months and months of work lies ahead as the devastating effects of Harvey still linger. The footage has been seen around the world so I am not going to take time to explain how bad it is. You know it’s bad. We remember how long it took to rebuild NOLA after Katrina and it is encouraging to see that they overcame their devastation for sure. My husband and I enjoyed beignets at Café Du Monde not too long ago and couldn’t even tell the city had been underwater before. An outpouring of workers is emerging even now as strangers are helping one another as everyone tried to get a little normalcy back in their life. This is the HOPE that I knew would emerge out of the STORM and it is Everywhere!
Do you want to hear the Best bit of encouragement that I can give for the situation we are facing? I happen to know the world’s greatest carpenter and I know He is already at work right here in Texas already! In fact, He was prepared for restoration long before Harvey ever showed up. And we don’t even need cell service to reach Him.
A few months ago it dawned on me how Jesus started as a Carpenter in the family business (Mark 6:1-6). He wasn’t a physician. He wasn’t a judge. His title had nothing prestigious about it. He was a carpenter. Using the same two hands that would be later nailed to a piece of wood, He created beautiful and useful things out of ordinary materials. He may have even taken antiques from his day and found a new purpose for them. Have you ever wondered what His imagination came up with while he was standing at His work bench? Did He make the first rocking chair to help His younger siblings fall asleep faster? Did He come up with new inventions to increase the efficiency around the house? Or did He have some not-so-fun tasks from dear-old-dad that he obeyed completely and joyfully?
Once Jesus’ evangelical career took over, He brought with Him the same ideals of his original trade- Rebuilding and Restoring. His goal was to reach as many lost souls on this Earth and breathe a new purpose into their lives. He searched for the outcasts, the unpopular, the diseased, and the broken. He knew that those in need are the best material to work with, giving the most beautifully refurbished result! When we are at our weakest, He is able to be our strength. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV):
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Jesus is all over Texas right now. He is the strength of the men knocking down drywall and rowing boats. He is the strength of the women cooking for the masses and doing laundry for the displaced. He is the strength of the children who lost their pets or favorite stuffed animals but are still looking up at their parents and telling them, “It will all be okay.” That is Christ. He is here and He is staying put for the long haul as our cities, homes, business, and churches are all being rebuilt. That is HIS type of business. He is a Carpenter! I can just imagine His own TV show on HGTV called, “The REAL Fixer Upper.” He’d probably build people new houses and change their eternity in one episode! And what would His pinterest account look like?!
That got me to wondering, what was Jesus’ preferred material to work with? Was it wood, metals, clay, or something else? I now know the answer. It’s us! He wants to take our lowly bodies and breathe new life into us! Earlier in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, Paul lays it out perfectly:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Did you catch the part of the passage where it becomes our responsibility to take the same message and rebuild others’ lives? Once we have a relationship with The Carpenter, He shows us all of this trade secrets. Now it is our time to take this message and be the hands, feet, mouth, and heart of God. If you haven’t been effected by this storm directly and want to help, there is not just one way to do this. Some of you are not physically able to do manual labor, but you can visit a shelter and listen to others who need to share what they are going through. Some of you (like me) can’t always be out of the house because you are caring for your babies. That’s why I chose to use this as one of my routes to encourage – because I can work on it while stuck at home when the baby is sleeping. Later I am taking baby on a shopping trip so, together, we can donate supplies to those in need. (I am personally using the list found at KatyDisasterResponse.com as my go-to. It is a collaboration from many churches in my area working together to fulfill needs in my hometown). Mailing gift cards to charity distribution centers is something some of you outside of the area can do. Or you may be an all-star prayer warrior and your place of service is on your knees in your bedroom. Whatever it is, be His new creation. Be an ambassador for Christ!
One final thought on this carpenter. When He restores and rebuilds, He doesn’t just put His finest work a shelf to collect dust. No. He continues to work on you, refining your imperfections and making adjustments for our life here on Earth. He eyes never leave His best creations (His children) and He continues meeting our needs as life throws us curve-balls. Also, you are not expected to figure out what new abilities He gave you all on your own. Let Him show you opportunities to grow and be stretched to reach a higher potential than you ever thought you’d be capable of. And don’t forget to give Him the glory!
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 (ESV)
Be Blessed, Stay Safe and Keep Shining!
~ Lindsey Alaine