Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
Our house was built twenty three years ago and has held up well over time. It was designed to look like an old home on the outside with some modern materials to make it as maintenance free as possible. Vinyl siding and PVC railings only have to be scrubbed once a year. The decking on our porch had to be replaced about six years ago even though it was made of pressure treated lumber. Recently, it started to sag again, and my husband worried that it meant additional repairs to the stringers or supports underneath. That would be an expensive and time consuming job he was not looking forward to. Instead, upon investigation, he found the deck was fine, and so were the stringers. The problem was the masonry nails which attached them to the house’s concrete block foundation. They were completely rusted away. Knowing that Christmas is soon upon us and we will have a houseful of guests, he could not wait any longer to fix it. Yesterday, armed with a borrowed nail gun and box of nails, he crawled on his stomach under the porch to reattach the stringers. It rained the night before so he was lying in mud and aiming the gun at an odd angle to reach its mark. Every time he fired it by tapping on its end with a hammer, the nail gun jammed. After about thirty minutes of trying accompanied by much cursing, he crawled back out from under the house and headed to Home Depot. The borrowed gun would not work because of the confined space and distance he had to maneuver. He needed one with a trigger instead. Today, he repeated the process, but it was going much better with the new gun. Someone had to stay out with him to direct him from above as he could not see how high to jack up the decking before reattaching it. Because I was cleaning house, youngest son went outside to assist. While my husband was laying under the deck maneuvering the gun, youngest son, not thinking of anything other than he wanted to sit while talking to his dad, dumped a bunch of rainwater out of a chair, right on top of where my husband lay. The water poured through the cracks in the deck, soaking my husband and once again, we heard much cursing. Just when he thought things were going his way, he got doused. How often has something like that happened to you? You get going on the work God has called you to do, maybe suffering a false start or two, but eventually, you feel like you are where you should be and ministering effectively. Then, someone criticizes you or tells you how you could do it better. It is like having cold water poured on your head. I love this verse as it reminds me that we should not be discouraged. God is on our side. Be strong. Keep hammering and don’t give up.