In truth it's been a long month.
There's nothing quite like disturbance, disruption, disappointment, and/or discouragement to make time drag.
Let's see if I can explain.
The project to install proper flooring on our balcony started well with the roofing material being laid in two days. The workers were real craftsmen and it was a joy to watch them make their way through the task.
We were delighted to see the old black tar paper replaced with durable material. Our expectation grew that it would soon be covered with new sparkling tiles.
The information we received at the end of the first phase was disturbing.
Nobody was to walk on the balcony until the project was complete.
Nobody knew when the crew would arrive nor how long the task would take.
So we sat inside adding
an umbrella with stand,
a few plants and pots,
and a bag of soil
to our living space.
God reached down and enabled us to minimize the disrupting influence as we welcomed and entertained three rounds of guests in our home.
A couple weeks later we were told the workmen would come on Monday and finish by Friday. We were pleased to think God was going to allow us to get our outdoor retreat back in shape before we left for some time out of town.
However, nobody appeared on Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday morning.
We were asked on Wednesday afternoon if we would let the workmen bring the heavy concrete tiles through our flat early the next morning. It was hard to imagine how they'd get them up the access shaft and to the roof so we said yes. Besides our landlord had already given permission.
We got up on Thursday and, with mounting expectation, moved the accumulated outdoor furniture as well as our coffee table and rug to make a clear path. If they did the job the way the roofers did we still might get things back in place before we left.
Then we waited
It took three guys a little over an hour to deliver the tiles. The boss only spoke Czech so we enlisted translation help from our neighbor. As it turned out the crew was going to begin on Friday and work through the weekend with the goal of being completed sometime on Monday.
The disappointing nature of the situation set us back . . . until we realized that all the activity, noise, and mess would take place while we were gone.
Yeee haw! Thank you, God.
The next morning we said good-bye to the crew with smiling faces. We dropped the metal blinds you see above and headed out to the bus station.
We quite enjoyed our time in the Šumava Mountains in the home of Czech friends. They could easily have gotten tired of hearing how happy we were that we'd be going home to move everything back onto our balcony as soon as we got there. I trust we balanced that out with the invitation to come and enjoy a meal with us real soon.
When we returned on Monday afternoon and raised the metal blinds a mess is what we saw. There were tarps and materials spread all over and tiles still stacked. We couldn't find out any information so we lowered the blinds and discouragement settled over me.
We've lived all week without being able to enjoy our beautiful view. The weather's been lovely since we returned and we haven't been able to enjoy that either. Thankfully God reached down and provided another one of His divine glimpses.
I've come to see the blocking of my view by the metal blinds as an analogy for the curtain between earth and heaven. While I make my way through this fallen world I have no idea what's up ahead, not for today or this week, or next year or into eternity. There's a barrier blocking my view.
I simply cannot see what God's doing on the other side. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says it well, "We live by faith, not by sight."
The flooring project was completed yesterday and this morning the workmen carried out the left over tiles. Curt swept down the walls and the railing and the flooring. The invasion of the concrete dust will probably last for a while, but we'll be moving the furniture this afternoon.
I'm pondering what the Four Ds have shown me and I'm being drawn to Job and Naomi.
His wife said to him, "Are you still holding to your integrity? Curse God and die!" [Job] replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? Job 2:9
I do not want to be a foolish woman. I want to be as resilient as Naomi who recognized God's proper authority over her. She was worn down by the circumstances He brought into her life yet she continued to call God by His worthy titles as she put one faithful foot in front of the other.
"Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me." So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning. Ruth 1:21-22
What's happening in your life? Are you faced with some combination of the Four Ds - disturbance, disruption, disappointment, discouragement?
Here's what God says about all of that.
No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him -
but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10