1 Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
2 In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Have you ever seen logs being floated down a river? In places like western Canada, enormous tree trunks felled from the forests are floated down river, because water will carry the weight of wood – which floats – far more easily than a road vehicle.
Life is so interesting. Timing and people and gifts and opportunities are a jigsaw of such infinite complexity that it’s a wonder our minds aren’t blown on a daily basis. Lately things have been coming together in my life and in some significant others’ in a way that makes me think, God knows what he’s doing. In hindsight there is such pattern visible. And so often we have to admit that we are the recipients of grace – there is no way we could have known that this would work together so well.
Water is frequently an analogy for the Holy Spirit. He is the one who builds the architecture of our lives. He knows what we are going through now, but he also knows what we will be needing in the future. He is putting us through training and strengthening now, that will stand us in good stead when we are faced with a challenge we have not yet dreamt of. Personally I’m happy not to know the challenges of tomorrow.
But when we think of tomorrow, we need to see it with the eyes of faith, and not listen to the voice of fear, which seeks to convince us that we will go into those challenges without God’s armour, tools and weapons. When we spend time worrying, we are imagining a future in which God does not continue to provide for us.
The truth that God impressed on me today is that he has already felled the timber that I will need to build my house of tomorrow, the one I can barely even imagine yet, because it’s his design, not mine, and way more complicated and beautiful than I would dare plan. He has selected the right trees, felled the timber and sent it on its way downstream. When that timber reaches me, whatever it represents, will be of just the right kind and I will wonder at the way he has prepared it so well. It will be clear that this house was of his design, because it will be clear that he had it all planned out before I knew anything of it.
How do I know that? Because that’s what he’s like, and I’ve seen him do it time and again. I have a sense that he has cut some choice logs and set them on their way. So I can be at rest about the future.