Straight, Square and Level

Tommy praying for the home
Tommy's been on all six trips we've made to the Mississippi Gulf Coast for this project. He's also inarguably the most skilled of our team. Here's something God taught him during this trip.



Straight, Square and Level

When doing construction on a house you often hear the question “Is it straight? Is it square? Is it level?” To check any of these you must have a reliable reference. For instance, to check squareness you’ll use a speed square or a framing square. But what happens when your reference is a little off? This actually happened one day as we were installing baseboards. Pam and Millie were helping me install baseboards. At first I would give them measurements and they would cut the pieces to length and then I would nail them in. Cutting is done on a chop saw. A chop saw cuts boards to length and in our case at either a 90 or 45 degree angle. After a few boards, which were perfectly cut, I had them measure and cut the boards. They would then put the boards in place and move on to the next room. Since both of them are self-described “perfectionists,” their work was very accurate. This was the beginning of a good partnership and we were all happy.

I then came to a room and noticed that there was a gap where two baseboards came together in a corner. After trying to adjust how the boards met, I determined that one of the boards needed to be re-cut. I dreaded telling Pam because I knew she would be very disappointed and would most likely not be happy with herself. I tried to tell her that it probably was a problem with the wall and wasn’t her fault, but that the board needed to be a little longer.

Pam, working on one of her windows
After a while, Pam returned, but something was obviously wrong. Her countenance had changed. Instead of a satisfied joy, there was now frustration, self-doubt and confusion. She told me she had cut two more boards and there was still a gap. I felt badly for her and was a little confused as well, as up to that point all her measurements and cuts were flawless. We then checked the chop saw and I noticed that a part of the fence (guide) was a little loose. After tightening it, I made a cut, measured for squareness and it was still off. I then measured the squareness of the blade with the speed square and determined that what was supposed to be a 90 degree angle was off by about 1 ½ degrees. After fixing that, we cut the board again and it fit perfectly.  Pam’s smile came back. The Lord showed me that just as we need good, reliable and accurate references when cutting baseboards, that in life we need them too. If we rely on things that may seem accurate and may be off by only a small amount, it will lead to frustration, self-doubt and confusion. That’s why I’m so glad we can rely on God’s Word and His absolute truths. They are always straight, square and level.

Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path. Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Proverbs 30:5 (NIV)

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. Isaiah 40:8 (NIV)
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