“Temporarily closed for repairs,” read the sign on a bathroom stall.
It’s not uncommon to see variants of such signs on public restrooms across the country. I’ve run into them many times—usually when the need is most inconvenient. It happened last week while at a gas station somewhere in Arizona.
“Closed for cleaning.”
I wasn’t the only one waiting with legs crossed.
Usually the repairs are simple: replace the flapper, adjust the flash valve, and the like.
But even a cursory glance at this situation revealed this repair job was no quick fix. Band-Aids and Super Glue were no match for this project. A plastic sheet affixed to the ceiling blocked the gap between it and the top of the stall. Yellow caution tape adorned the door. On the ground a mammoth pile of dirt rose up, the view of the top blocked by the stall wall. A piece of plywood covered the spot where the toilet should have been. An elevated corner of the wood revealed a deep hole beneath. This was not a surface repair. It required deep work. The irony that this was a church restroom was not lost on me.
How often do we face similar situations in our own lives? A minor incident prompts a disproportionate response that causes eyebrows of others to shift. We work on a spiritual issue only to discover it was a symptom of something more significant. We flippantly distract from a real issue to deflect from something more painful.
During our trip last week, Eugene and I took advantage of a warm spring day to take a long walk (about 3 miles round trip) to Walmart to get some sun and exercise. At one point the sidewalk ended and we maneuvered around a dirt trail with a variety of obstacles, among them anthills—the occupants large enough to wear saddles. If you looked at the insect nest, the holes were small but the dirt piles next to them looked like molehills. These ants were really making mountains of molehills. The debris seemed to dwarf the hole of its origin.
A deep dilemma, indeed. It’s kind of like trying to get Christmas lights back in the box.
Daniel was a man who went deep with the God-literally. As you recall, Daniel was cast into a pit, the lion’s den, for refusing to obey a degree to pray only to the ruler, Darius the Mede. Daniel refused to honor the decree, instead he continued to fervently pray to his God. His Maker not only saved Daniel, but his stature was also elevated in the eyes of the ruler, bringing glory to God.
Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.” So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian. (Daniel 6:25-28).
God calls His people to deep relationship, which means deep work. He’s not satisfied with quick fixes and surface repairs. We shouldn’t be, either. It often requires dirty, messy work, but when we’re done, the water flows abundantly.
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (John 7:37-39)
That is a promise we can lap up.