Building on Faith
© Betty Sue Eaton
Recently, I was privileged to participate in a missionary project in Mexico whose purpose it
was to built a house for a Mexican family of four. They had to invest in the project in a
substantial way in order to qualify to be chosen.  They had to hold the deed to the property
they built on, put up quite a sum of money to assist in buying the building products, but most
of all, they had to invest in sweat-equity, working side by side with the builder-missionaries.

The structure was a 21' by 21' dry-stacked concrete building consisting of three rooms: Two
bedrooms and a living-dining-kitchen area with no electricity, gas or plumbing outlets.
Although not grand by American standards, it was a wonderful home for the family, and daily,
they arrived at first light as we did, and stayed throughout the blazing hot afternoon working
as hard as we did. There was one edict: We, all 16 of us, had five days to construct the
house, clean up the site, plant a tree, and turn the key over to the new owners. What a
heart-warming experience it was to watch the tears of gratitude in the eyes of the family, and
to read the dedication inscribed in concrete on their front step: God Lives Here!

We daily live our lives never expecting to have them devastated by tragedy or loss. When
such a thing happens, it completely changes the way we live, and we wonder if we can ever
get back to a semblance of sanity and order. Each of us has abilities we never expect to have
to call on in emergencies, but when loss occurs, we are pressed to use them to reconstruct
our lives. Doing that is much like building that concrete little house in Mexico.

The blocks are the daily assurances that our lives will be nice, fulfilled, and rewarding; and
much like that little house, there is no mortar holding the blocks together. But one by one, we
stack them up and hope that they stand. Then a death, job loss, terrible illness, or something
comes along and bulldozes them to rubble, and we are faced with the task of rebuilding from
the ground up. But how can we? Like the little Mexican home, we must reinforce the
structure, not with steel rebar, but by holding fast to God's word. Like the rebar that ran down
the corners of the house and around the perimeter of the top, and the roofing that was
anchored by strong steel bolts, God's love and promises will be the mortar and steel holding
our blocks together. Trusting in His protection in times of trouble is like the rebar holding the
corners of our lives sturdy and strong, and His arms around us day and night are like the
bond-beam running the perimeter of the structure that keeps it from shaking and falling into
decay. And overlaying it all is His Holy Word to which we can go for reinforcement like the
roof over the little haven for that Mexican family.

You have invested a lot in your life to now, but you don't think you have any abilities or
strength to build something for someone else, or rebuild your own life? You can discover
them when offer to help someone in greater need than you. That way, you can get some
distance from your own hurts and a perspective on how much you already have to build
upon. Several years ago, my shoulder was damaged by a fall on ice so it is weakened; my
knee was torn when I tried to climb from a ditch as we were building our retirement home. I
doubted that I could be of any help in building a house of any kind, much less one whose
basic elements weighed 22 pounds apiece and had to be carried some distance to the
structure. So I was assigned to be "water boy", and my job was to see that everyone on the
job was well hydrated in the Mexican heat. I fed them snacks, an athletic-mix liquid, and
plenty of water; I swabbed overheated necks and faces with cold cloths, bandaged nicks and
dings on hands, and found the whole time that I did not think of myself at all, only of those
building a "new start" for a very grateful Mexican family whose investment in their lives was
being rewarded. Now, God has rewarded me with a brand new block to add to my life
structure's accumulation of blocks.


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