Sunday, March 13, 2011

On Fixing Potholes

“No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth to an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made.” - Mark 2:21 (ESV)

While driving to work this past week, I was thinking grouchy thoughts about all the potholes in the road.  You see, every fall the work crews patch up those potholes by filling them up with asphalt, and every spring they reappear, seemingly worse than ever. Annoying, right? Yes, but there is a reason for it. You see the initial pothole is formed when moisture creeps below the road surface through cracks caused by traffic wear and tear (and this section of road is in an industrial part of town, so there's a lot of wear and tear). When the temperatures fall to below freezing, the moisture turns to ice and causes the pavement to rise. The heat from the traffic still driving on the pavement and/or a rise in temperature causes the ice to melt and a small space is created. This cycle continues until eventually the weight of traffic forces the pavement to actually break (because there's nothing supporting the part of the pavement) and creates the pothole.

To effectively "fix" the pothole, all loose debris should be removed from the hole before filling it with hot/cold asphalt patch. The fresh asphalt patch should then be tamped down until it is packed as tightly as it can be. Then sealed and left alone for awhile so the old and new can bond together. If there is debris left in the hole, or the patch isn't packed tightly, or it's not sealed correctly, OR the patch isn't allowed to bond with the original surface adequately then the pothole will probably return and the additional wear and tear of the weather and traffic can make it worse.

What does all this have to do with my grouchy thoughts about potholes? Well, while I was thinking those grouchy thoughts I realized that I was a lot like those potholes. You see as much as I love God, and as much as He loves me, I still live here on earth and there are cracks in my "surface" that allow potholes (sin) to form in my spirit. Whether it's negative thoughts, or a lack of generosity, or being lazy, I tend to patch over these "potholes" in a haphazard way and they find a way of coming out again and again.

This realization filled me with self pity (another pothole) at first. Then I realized, that unlike my way of fixing potholes, God is never haphazard. He sent his Son to live in our world (cleaned out the loose debris), to die on the cross (filled the pothole with patch), to wrestle with the devil (packed down the patch as tight as possible), and to rise from the dead (sealed the patch & let it bond). He did that for me and for you, made us good as new, so we could spend eternity with Him. How amazing is that? Now, when I drive through that heavily potholed section of road, I am filled with awe of His grace and mercy.


Dearest Heavenly Father, thank you so much for being such a thorough "pothole" filler and for loving us so much to do the job right. Please keep helping us to realize the awesomeness of your love and mercy. Help us to learn from your perfect example, to fill the "potholes" in our lives the way they should be filled instead of doing our usual haphazard job of it. In Jesus’ holy name we pray to You.  Amen.


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