I have been working the past month at the warehouse putting in the new wood(luxury vynal) flooring with Jon Allen, previous Intern for 1825 as the Revolver Co-Ordinator.
I also have to mention that it is his and I first time ever doing flooring. So as you can assume, it was an adventure to say the least! However little did I know that this is where God will speak to me the most and unveil who he is, and who I’ve become in him. ALl the while, life and ministry are still going on around us every week. So it wasn’t in the slightest the easiest and most relaxing job we have ever had. So this “story” if I may call it that, is about this time, and there will be more to come.
So after Jon and I get ourselves a plan of attack on how to go about putting the floor in, we have come up with a very solid conclusion. That is that the floor has multiple layers, every layer consisting of a different material. Which says to us that people kept building on top of the existing floor. Half of the floor was concrete, and parts of it were small red tile, and then the other half was this very vibrant color looking tile that were in big square pieces every piece being a different color.
So our first plan of attack was to get rid of the ugly colorful tile that stood between us and the floor we wanted to lay on top of. So whose job was it to Uncover Tiles? It was I, the unknowing and automatic yes answering guy. So at first the tile came up fairly easily without crowbars and shovel. They just popped out in full sheets… for about 1/4 of the entire space. Then we noticed that we could only get little pieces to break off of the tile since whomever laid it down in these sections either used too much glue or just wasn’t very experienced. We ended up buying a tile scraper in hopes that it would get under it and rip out the tile quickly. However that wasn’t the case. After a few days of chipping away, back pain, bruised and sore hands from the jolt of energy coming back into the handle, it was looking to be the worst and longest part of the job. We ended up getting a little chisel and hammer to see if that would help, and it did. Yet we still had to chip away, even though it did a far better job then the big tile scraper we had previously purchased. The only difference is that now my hands are getting super cut and bruised and i could have sworn it was a deep tissue wound because I could feel the pain all the way through my hands as well as see it. After about a half hour of doing this your hand gets numb and when you stop you can’t un-curl your fingers due to the fact that you are holding on to the chisel tight and trying to get it to stay straight as you hammer away at it. Then once you can, your hand shakes for a while after. In the end I literally couldn’t put my fingers through each other because they were partially swollen and cut and bruised and blistered.
All in all it was the worst experience physically I have ever had in my three years with 1825, and trust me… I have done many hands on brutal jobs for them. “like last year how I popped tiles in the ceiling with fiber glass coming down on me… talk about itching for days”. Although it was a painful experience physically, I knew that it was only making my hands stronger, and more “manly” I liked to think. In the end it was an extremely satisfying feeling to have finished and accomplished the daunting task of ripping out all of those tiles knowing how much it was needed.
This story however isn’t about that. It’s about what God had said to me about it after it was over.
When you looked at the floor after the tile was gone, it looked horrible, you could see all the different layers, and cracks and imperfections that was being covered up by the tile. It was and still is the biggest issue of the warehouse, ‘the floor underneath’. I was sitting in the workshop one day looking at the same tile I ripped out, yet we had left in the worship since it didn’t matter that we had it in there, and thinking to myself how all the tile is doing is masking the brokenness and imperfections of the floor underneath and then I thought how we do that ourselves as people.
We buy nice clothes because it makes us feel better about ourselves in someway shape or form, due to whats underneath or inside. We wear make up to cover up whats underneath our faces to hide the blemishes, pimples, blackheads, and scars because we don’t want people to see our flaws. We say certain things to certain people in order to show your best side, to hide the fact that whats going on underneath(inside) is someone that’s broken or hurting or whatever the case may be. We like to cover up the brokenness with stuff. We tile it on like the floor, wherever there’s a crack in the floor, a weak spot in us, we cover it up with something. Most of the time unknowingly, because its become a natural thing to sub-consciously react to our outwardly appearance in public.
Then I talked to one of my pastors about this and he asked me how I could tie it into the Gospel. I simply said, “I don’t know”. And he said to try, so I did and he helped me. It came down to God-loving us so much that he would wash it all away and give us a new clean slate to start with. I then thought how exactly it looked like from the flooring stance, and its as if God ripped out the tile and the broken floor beneath for me for free, in a blink of an eye, with out any questions asked. It then sank in how much I went through and how long it took to rip out that tile and still have the ugly floor beneath and to think that someone would do it for me instead because the loved me that much. I felt like crying inside at the time because that would have saved me so much pain and effort, and I would be eternally grateful to him if he did that for me. That’s true love to me, and I felt it by imaging that. He is a great God, and I believe it.
Now if you go away from the floor analogy, God does and can do that… for our lives. For all the bad things that we’ve done, are still doing, and will do. Because he truly is real and truly loves us for who we are, “as is”. And it so crazy to think that, almost unbelievable, yet I believe it, and feel it I my heart. It makes me feel good knowing someone will love me even with all my brokenness and sin. God is good, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to really learn it first hand.