There are three little words that will strike fear in the hearts of most adults. Even the strongest, bravest, most adventurous adult trembles when he/she reads those three little, seemingly-innocent words—Some Assembly Required.
Grown men have been known to leave the WalMart toy department, empty-handed, in fear and trembling after seeing those words printed on the box of some greatly desired toy. I, myself, have seen a man and woman (husband and wife, I presumed) leave Office Depot with the wife begging for the beautiful bookcase that she had just found. The man is marching determinedly toward the front door of the store, shaking his head from side to side, muttering something about …some assembly required.
When our girls were little, they requested a swing set one Christmas. You know how it is: every year, parents end up being Santa’s helpers, much to their own dismay sometimes. The swing set was to be my husband’s responsibility, and, as it sometimes happened with him back then, he didn’t do a lot of planning (Okay— he did no planning!) about when, how, where to take the sixteen boxes containing the pieces of the swing set to put it together. As was his usual MO (mode of operation), he left this nifty little piece of construction until Christmas Eve night; he would have “plenty of time.” After all, it would be just a matter of putting the poles together, hanging the swings from the top pole, building the slide, and connecting it to the structure. No problem! (Are you grinning yet?)
Not far behind our house was a large storage building—a very nicely-built structure of probably 20’x40’—on a concrete slab. It would be plenty large enough to hide the big Christmas surprise. That was the logical place for this enormous project. One small problem there that he didn’t realize until after he had unloaded all those boxes of swing set pieces: there was no electricity in the building! (As I said, thinking ahead was not his forte when he was younger.) Not only did that mean no light, but there would be no heat—sitting on that concrete floor (that cold concrete floor)—in one of the coldest Decembers we had had in years. One of my favorite snapshots (which has been lost) of all time is of Earl sitting in that building on the floor, surrounded by—yes, many, many, many candles—trying to assemble that swing set! I’ve thought of that scene often—Earl sitting on that cold, hard floor, trying to read the instructions, deal with hundreds of pieces needed for a swing set—all by candle light. Following instructions was not always easy for him, so he often had to stop, undo what he had done, and start all over again. But he finally got it done, and our girls played on that swing set for many years!
Over the years, I’ve thought of that Christmas assembly project of Earl’s often and have realized that it could be likened, in so many ways, to our lives as we try to become the Christian God wants us to be. That spiritual maturation process is all about making decisions, stopping and starting, getting things all wrong and having to go back to the very beginning to start all over again. I have realized that growing into a mature Christian is a process that continues all our lives until we become perfect. Of course, that perfection is attained only when we enter Heaven.
So that’s what this blog will be about—that process of “becoming.” I thought of the song that little children used to sing, “He’s still working on me” and remembered a scripture that went along with that song: Philippians 1:6 became the foundation for this blog. (NKJV) Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.