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February 2017

An Unexpected Lesson From Chaos and Construction

February 17, 2017
A blast of concrete dust formed chalky clouds on the sidewalk in front of me. Pausing slightly, I turned, taking a moment to observe the activity behind a silver chain link fence.
Large dump trucks and bulldozers crawled over fresh dark soil, leaving thick tire tread in their wake. Neon clad construction workers swarmed the area, shouting instructions and maneuvering heavy equipment between piles of rubble, narrowly missing deep holes in the ground.
I watched what was happening on the enclosed patch of earth, now a world of its own. One I no longer recognized, despite nearly six years of working in the same place.
Within a matter of days, the landscape was transformed from a shady pedestrian path and manicured parking lot to a space filled with discordant blends of machinery and metal clanging through the morning air.
And from the outside looking in, there was no apparent rhythm or pattern to all the commotion.

But I knew that wasn’t true.
Even amid chaos and upheaval, the scattered crews were working to accomplish finely engineered designs of a master builder, and soon a better facility will rise to accommodate the needs of our growing company.
I know this, but it doesn’t always make sense from the other side of the fence.
What struck me about the bizarre scene in the middle of a busy office complex is the fact that demolition isn’t always for the purpose of destruction.
Sometimes, it’s the ground breaking transition for a greater plan ahead.
And those who have the blueprint understand patterns and methods the rest of us do not.

Trying to figure it out is a lot like putting a puzzle together without all the pieces.
As the work has continued, I’ve found myself fascinated with the process because it reminds me a lot of our lives on this Christian walk.
Maybe you can relate?
When God is designing a story, He alone knows where it’s headed.
Isaiah 55:9 tells us, as the heavens are higher than the earth, so His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts than our thoughts.
When carefully laid plans go awry, or in the middle of circumstances that are out of control, the Master builder is still at work. He is unearthing soil in deep places of the heart and laying ground work to restore and renew His purpose.
And sometimes, our messy places are a necessary part of framing the ultimate beauty of the big picture.

Walking by this construction site day in and day out has given me pause, bringing reflection on times when our own stories seem to unravel.
I’m realizing that there is a connection between uncomfortable territory and unique design. Even when it appears otherwise, they are linked together as a work in progress.
Our rough edges and awkward stages aren’t intimidating to the Creator of all things. They may, in fact, be part of the process to bring about His greater plan.
Because often times, the breaking down of our spirit can become a catalyst in the shaping and building up of our soul.
We can rest in knowing God is the master artist, already seeing the end result of a paint spattered canvas before it fully takes shape.
He is an experienced potter, envisioning the beauty of a finished product in cracked, misshapen lumps of clay.
And like a skilled craftsman, He knows the potential and ultimate design His handiwork will bring.
So the next time a road block, detour or impending disaster lights our horizon, let’s remember the unexpected lesson of a chaotic construction site.
And keep in mind, that although struggle is a defining point in forming and shaping our character, it doesn’t determine how a story ends when God is in control.