Devotions / Nov 07, 2018
Let God Help Build Your Life
By Carol Ann Smolka
“If God doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks.
If God doesn’t guard the city, the night watchman might as well nap.
It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late and work your worried fingers to the bone.
Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?” (Psalm 127: 1-2 MSG)
At the end of the day, if God hasn’t been a part of it, you might as well have done nothing. If God isn’t in it – it’s completely worthless. It’s true. We allow so many of our days to be “nothing” days. I’m certainly guilty of it. We toil endlessly under this fiery sun; and for what? For more wealth? More possessions? More, security? More fame? If God hasn’t helped us build our days that build our lives, then they won’t be worth a penny.
I used to hate having a substitute teacher when I was in grade school. He or she would undoubtedly give us a mountain of busy-work just to keep us occupied. Work that wouldn’t amount to anything at all. Work meant to keep us quiet and busy. That’s what we do to ourselves when we don’t allow God to be in our work. God doesn’t want our lives to be full of mere busy-work. He wants our moments to be filled with purpose and joy. If only we would just invite Him in! It is our job to invite Him in through prayer and petition. Ask God to help you build a meaningful life, one brick at a time, side by side.
Full disclosure: this might mean that what you have built will need to fall so He can give you a firm foundation. God is not in the habit of knocking down buildings, but, if the foundation isn’t firm they will fall on their own. I learned this tough truth during college. I was a wide-eyed music student majoring in clarinet performance with dreams of playing in a symphony someday. I was nearly halfway through my junior year when I began to develop serious problems with my wrist, arm, and shoulder. I had fallen one icy evening on the way to a jazz band concert the semester before. I lost most of the use of my arm while the nerves and soft tissue took their sweet time to heal. I attempted to make up for lost time. I tried to rush through the healing process and practiced for hours a day before my arm was ready. As a result, the pain and movement problems returned with a vengeance. The inflammation was so bad at times, I experienced pins and needles, and I could barely feel anything (much less move it) or I was in agonizing pain. Sometimes, both.
I saw countless doctors at one of the best hospitals in the country. Not one found a reason that my arm wouldn’t heal. One doctor was so determined to help me, that he tried alternative modes of healing. These therapies brought some relief for which I am thankful beyond measure. However, my arm has never been the same and I was never able to play clarinet again or chase my dream.
I am still in pain daily. And when it is especially bad, I try to remember how far God has brought me instead of mourning what will never be. I didn’t ask God to help me build that first foundation, and it fell. Hard. Now, I’m not sure what He’s building with me. But He and I lay bricks together one at a time, day after day. This way, I know my labor is not in vain. Sometimes, I still try to add a room by myself, and the wind sweeps it away out from under me. But the Lord is patient and waits for me to return to the work we started together. One day, when I see what the Lord is helping me build I’ll stop mourning the shack I was trying to create on my own. And one day, you will too if you’ll only let the Master Builder take the lead.