Stripped Away

When my husband and I purchased our home several years ago we went through the normal inspections to clear the home of any obvious issues or concerns. As soon as a storm hit we realized we were facing some serious challenges. Our home had faced many rain and snowstorms over the years, and by all appearances had weathered them well. Unfortunately, we noticed that water was coming in under the doors every time it rained. And, much like that Tupperware container in the back of the fridge that has been forgotten…until it stinks to high heaven, we knew that there was something rotten hiding underneath our floor.

The week we moved in we ordered new flooring and it was scheduled to be installed a few days after the rain hit. The workers came and started pulling up the floor only to reveal years of dry rot at the base of the front door. The sub-floor was pulled up which showed the extensive dry rot damage that had gone undetected. We had to rebuild the entryway supports, threshold, and sub-floor around the front door. We would have never known the damage that had existed underneath the foundation of our floor unless we fell through or it had been stripped away and exposed.

Life is full of distractions that can easily grab our attention, consuming our time and energy away from God’s truth and His plans for our life. We can build a foundation dependent on people, money, technology, appearances, status, and addictive behaviors. We can go to church on Sunday, yet, during the week, return to immersing ourselves in seductive temptations that lure us away. Our sinful choices, life’s hurts, and habits influence us to repeat unhealthy behavior over and over again, getting nowhere, yet wondering why. We hide from others because we don’t want the real condition of our hearts to be exposed.

Yet, that can’t stop God from pursuing us and getting our attention. In the Bible, the people of Israel were believing every kind of nonsense from those claiming to be teachers and prophets of God. These false teachers and prophets used God’s name for their gain. Israel was also being seduced by witchcraft, sorcery, and idolatry, believing that it would get them what they wanted like wealth, status, and stuff. No matter what color we paint the wall around our hearts, it is still a wall.

In Ezekial 13:13-14, we see what God does to get their attention, “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury. I will tear down the wall you have covered with whitewash and will level it to the ground so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the Lord. “

Like the false wall of deception in the Bible and our floor that covered up the dry rot, we too go through a stripping away process for God to rebuild our lives. He removes all the distractions that keep us from being with Him and hearing Him. Such as pride, selfishness, anger, offense, bitterness, shame, guilt, and unworthiness. It is in those vulnerable moments we ask, “how did this happen?”. Then, when we step out of denial and into that place of surrender to our Lord and Savior, He gently and humbly partners with us in the middle of our mess, leading us out of the muddiness of our life, washing us clean of all the ugly labels and weight of our sin. He stands with us like a faithful friend offering his strength, carrying us when needed, and going before us to lead the way. He is our rock!

Matthew 7:24-25,“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. “

The stripping away process is not comfortable. Yet, when God reveals to us the damage underneath the surface, the truth, we then feel empowered by Him to rebuild. Through His Spirit and His word we have all the tools to rebuild life’s foundation stronger than ever. We look back through the journey with amazement and gratitude seeing His grace, love and mercy that carried us.

1 Corinthians 3:10-11, “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise master builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one must be careful how he builds. For no one can lay a foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

Now we have a new front door, new threshold, and new foundation to stand on, as well as new flooring. God revealed the rot so we could rebuild for many years of family and friends stepping into our home. He does the same for our hearts.