I’m sore today. Not as much as yesterday, though. On Saturday I dug a 25′ long, two-foot deep ditch that ran alongside my house. It served as a lesson in finding the root of a problem (Pun intended. You’ll see in a second.) and fixing it.
Though I’m not as clueless with home improvement projects as when we bought our house seven years ago, I still have a lot to learn. It took eight hours and nine trips to Home Depot to complete. I’ve developed a Home Depot quotient that measures the difficulty of projects. Divide hours worked by the number of excursions to that huge store (.889 for this one).
I am more successful at fixing things because I’m learning how to figure out the source of problems that arise. The drain in the ground on the side of our house that was supposed to redirect rainwater away from our breezeway wasn’t doing the job. The three-foot long clay tubes that ran underground had allowed roots to grow in between them causing dirt buildup that blocked the flow of water. One of the tubes had separated and wasn’t even near the next tube in line. The answer was obvious: replace the 60-year-old tubes with new ones.
Jesus healed a man who had been lame for 38 years. One of the cool things about it is that the man hadn’t even asked Jesus for help. The Savior just walked over and asked him if he wanted to be healed. To the man’s credit, he believed Jesus and obeyed by standing in response to Jesus’ command.
The problem was fixed, but the cause wasn’t. In this case the problem had been a result of the man’s sin. Jesus said as much when he finally caught up with him later that day: “But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.” (John 5:14, NLT).
John doesn’t say, but I wonder if the guy repented of his sin. Or did he eventually develop a worse ailment because, while the solution to the problem was easy for Jesus, the cause (his sin) required hard work that this man wasn’t willing to exert.
My Home Depot quotient may have been .889. But the job is done. I could have kept my temporary solution of bags of dirt that blocked the water from invading the breezeway. My neighbors (and wife) wouldn’t have liked that. I would have been reminded of the problem not only when it would rain, but as I stepped over those bags every time I went in the back door.
Is that what your spiritual life it like? You may be so used to the problem that you need the Holy Spirit to prompt you to pursue healing. Maybe that’s why you’re reading this blog today.
Put in the effort to solve the cause of your problem. If it’s sin, get rid of it. You’ll be so happy that you did.