There are many tools in God’s toolbox that he uses to sanctify his people. Some of those tools include other people, a specific verse, a sermon, suffering, and circumstances. The Lord knows the right tool to use at the right time. Over the past ten years the Lord has used a home as one of his primary tools to sanctify me.
My wife and I were excited to finally buy our first home. We had our first child and were looking for a place to settle down after moving around a couple of times. We looked at many different homes and eventually found one that fit our budget. We knew the house would need some work; we did not realize how much work we were getting ourselves into.
After a couple of months in the home, I received a call from my wife at work, “there is a leak in the bedroom ceiling!” My excitement of homeownership quickly turned into despair. I eventually called a roofer over for some minor repairs, only to find out the roof was in a terrible condition. The house has a combination of a flat and pitched roof. The flat sections of the roof can be problematic because of water ponding. Even though the roof is flat, it does have a slight pitch that helps the water drain. The problem was that one area of my roof did not have the right pitch and instead of draining off the roof, the water collected to create a mini pool. Water is quite heavy (1 gallon = 8.33 pounds), so I did not want it to remain on the roof. Then I had a crazy idea, I would go on the roof with my shop-vac and remove the water after each rain. My neighbors must have thought, “what’s with the crazy new neighbor on his roof with a shop-vac.” I estimate that I removed about 75 gallons of water each time, about 624 lbs. of extra weight. That was one of many problems with the roof as we also found it was leaking in other areas of the home too. We realized we would have to replace the entire roof, but it took some years before we could find a way to pay for it. The prior owners did not take care of the home, so we had to address all the large repairs: roof, electrical, and plumbing.
How was the Lord sanctifying me? I remember driving to work, and I could not get the house off my mind. The worst days were the days it rained because I wondered if the roof would eventually collapse. My mind kept thinking about it during the day. I had times of regret; did I make an unwise decision? I had times of anger; are you kidding me? I had times of not trusting God; how am I going to fix this? I had times of wanting comfort; I hate this house!
After a while, in God’s timing, it dawned on me, “this house is going to sanctify me!” I could not believe the Lord was using a house to expose the spiritual issues in my heart. I began to realize how I subtly put my hope in a trial-free life (or at least easy trials) and less in a God who is with me in all the trials of life. This awakening in my heart began a process of coming to the Lord in humility, instead of trying to fix everything. I learned that the process of sanctification is often slow but occurs in the day-by-day moments of life, often with things I do not expect. God in his wisdom chooses the tools he will use, the challenge is to recognize that the tools are not the problem, it is the heart.