These last few days working on my hands and knees sorting books, assembling/dis-assembling shelves and moving shelves certainly taught me a little more on the carpenter’s life.
This ultimately came to a head in the last 2 hours of working in the library at Yuendumu.
The challenger was a book shelf on wheels with a brass bolt that did not want to budge.
In the end, I ended up lying on my side with one hand holding the bar at balance and the other twisting the spanner. The nut moved at about a quarter to a half of a thread per shift of the spanner and this bolt was a couple of inches long. I think it took almost an hour to get this last bolt undone. It was painfully slow. Sneezing and an itchy arm was the least of my worries as this was the last piece to go in storage and the team was waiting for me.
This bolt became less and less dusty as I continued to turn it. It became more and more rounded from the hexagon it was. It was an exercise in patience and persistence.
But I think there was a certain aspect of faith in undoing this bolt. It was such a small thing, but key to us finishing our library. Greg had encouraged us from Mark 4 as we looked at the parable of the sower, the seed and the mustard seed. There is faith that is required in growth. Faith that the rain will come, faith that the sun will shine, faith that the seed will grow.
I believed that this bolt could be undone, even when perhaps other people didn’t. So I persevered patiently. I think this is something we not only have to do when working in remote libraries, but an attitude we must take to growing as disciples. Not only do we need to continue to persevere, but we also must know that God is continuing to work at shaping us, whether we listen to God or not.
At times that might look like working the spanner on the nut, gradually polishing and shaping the bolt. Loosening it step by step, even when it’s resistant.
For me, the encouragement has been to persist in prayer. Patiently, faithfully, persistently. To be open to his shaping and moulding, his turning and smoothing of the rough edges.
It’s also an encouragement to consistent, ever working, patience and care for those who I pray for. Not only for their benefit, but because I know this is how my prayer life will grow. So can I encourage you:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”