Thanks, Edwin McCain (I couldn't help myself although this post is entirely unrelated to your song). However, a few lyrics from it are my memory when I recall and consider some teachable moments of rain.
I remember the few weeks I spent in Juarez, Mexico with a friend's family and a bunch of manly men from a group in south Atlanta. We also met up there with Jason Laffan, at that time a representative of Casas por Cristo, an organization which works in partnership with the local Christian leaders in Juarez by coordinating teams from the US and Canada to come down and builds homes for families who have typically pieced together their existing shelter with cardboard and crates. The requirements for receiving a home are to be in need of housing and not to have sufficient means to obtain it (although small plots of land are cheap and all the Casas families do own their property!).
That week we worked side by side with the Moreno family, watched, and assisted as the walls came up at their new home. Even though the clueless hands of 13 Gringos supported Jason, the small two-bedroom house went up in two and a half days, the foundation to wiring. Now, we were no Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, but we were most definitely willing hands. And I did get to have ONE photo opp in the few hours it wasn't raining. We were happy to assist God in the blessing of giving a family a roof over their heads. While nails slammed, drywall sliced, stucco flew, and rain poured on the new roof a valuable lesson dawned on me: we weren’t the ones building the house.
Although there were some on our team with construction experience, it was Jason who orchestrated the structure of this scanty edifice. He did several important things ... shoveling, insulation, etc. But he was only able to do them when he knew he had us all working together on one project, no screw-ups in sight. When we all had our various jobs, he hiked around making sure we weren’t nailing through the electrical wires or hanging chicken wire upside-down (that's a problematic thing!). Overall, he taught us. He worked us through it, nail by nail. If we stood back and looked at our piece of work with pride, we had only to remember that Jason guided a group of sixth graders through the same process the prior week. Slightly humbling, right?
We are simply tools who need only be willing to be used. Christian books penned, the bible deliberated, and mission trips planned yet we can still all learn that valuable lesson: we really aren’t the ones who are building -- or doing any of these projects for that matter.
You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.
Ephesians 2:20, The Message
Amen? It is a verse our church memorized together last year and one that is truly a, well, a transforming truth. We are assisting in building His kingdom but even more important is that we are also a part of the temple edifice itself.
There are many people with years of experience as Christians and many who have one biblical degree or another. There are a lot of folks new to the kingdom of God who continue to seek more of the Word and also whose who grapple to understand His existence at all. But overall, it is God who orchestrates the structure of his kingdom. As an experienced task manager, God likes to work with us, but overall, He lovingly teaches us. If we stand back and look at personal pride over anything He has built, we have only to remember what happened to the Tower of Babel as a project built without his blueprints. Slightly humbling.
Back to Juarez. The most exciting moment for me was when Jason tested the lights and ... wow, dude, they all came on! My surprise was not unwarranted because although I am married to an electrical engineer who mainly deals in computer engineering, he has a major handle on wires too. I, however, do not. He knows this. (If you have read my former posts, you may understand that I tend to burn things accidentally). BUT! MY job while everyone else started on the stucco was to hook up the outlets. Man, that made me nervous. However, and I am still shocked at this, the lights still came on. I breathed a big sigh of relief!
Is it okay to feel pride in your work? Of course, it is! It is just that, to truly build successfully, one has to remember these three things Mother Teresa also encouaged:
TO BUILD SUCCESSFULLY, REMEMBER:
1) who the teacher is
2) the purpose for "'building" in the first place and
3) that if YOU don't do it, someone else will!
God raises people up for his work when he needs them. You need only to be willing, or you had better bet your fancy tool belt that He’s going to get someone else to do it, and you are going to miss out on all the fun! It was blessed Mother Teresa who said she was merely "a pencil in the hand of God." See? I'd say you're in pretty good company.
“Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1) Personally, I'd rather grab a hammer, throw a smile at my brother with the handsaw, and labour a little in the rain instead.