There is one item that all successfully built structures have in common.
Do you know what it is?…
I have found this to be emphatically true through my own experience over the past several months.
My wife and I were recently blessed with the opportunity to build a home for our family. I use the word “blessed” because we have been so well taken care of by God, that it would be an utter fallacy to use any other term to describe our circumstance.
However, the process of building a home, or any other structure for that matter, is likely described with very different words. In fact, it is immensely stressful and at times overwhelming, particularly when you feel as though you have little to no control and are instead left to simply react to what is presented to you.
Come to think of it, it’s a lot like life.
However, the one item that gave us confidence and helped us push through some of the more difficult stages of the process was our set of blueprints.
So what is the role of a blueprint?
The dictionary defines it as a plan, map or model.
Blueprints serve as the guide. Before construction ever begins, the blueprints are created, examined and verified. They are critical to ensure the final product meets the desired outcome.
Most structures follow a similar path to completion. This path includes multiple stages involving a variety of different crews. Yet, despite these different stages and crews involved, everyone at every stage refers to the same guidelines and master plan provided in the blueprints in order to ensure the final goal is ultimately achieved.
I distinctly remember during our planning processes, thinking to myself, “why do we have to worry about all these little details?’, “can’t we just point to a picture and tell you what we want and you figure out the rest?”. I felt so “restricted” by all these specifications we had to account for.
However, as we encountered issues or discrepancies during the building process, we found that we were constantly referring back to the original blueprints of our home for clarification. They provided us with a stability we could lean upon that served as an extremely welcome friend.
What I had originally seen as a cumbersome burden, had quickly become a freeing tool for my mind.
In addition, these blueprints helped us to maintain focus on the end goal rather than being lost in the potential confusion of each given stage.
If you’ve ever witnessed a structure being built, then you have likely observed the general stages of construction listed below:
- Pouring the foundation
- Bricking/Exterior Finish
- Interior installations (fixtures, flooring, cabinets and paint)
When we first saw the foundation, we thought to ourselves, “this can’t be right, they must have gotten the wrong plan”. The foundation by itself often looks far smaller than what you might anticipate it would need to be.
I wonder if Peter thought the same thing when Jesus told him, “On this rock I will build my church…” (Matthew 16:13-20).
However, this builder had previously completed many other homes successfully, and so we drew upon some trust and a bit of faith that perhaps this was just part of the process. Reluctantly, we waited for the next stage.
Suddenly, in seemingly the blink of an eye, our original concerns with the foundation were erased. The house, almost magically, looked much more like what we had envisioned once the framing was complete.
With each passing stage, the home drew closer and closer to what we had envisioned all along. Though we had experienced countless doubts and even expressed numerous concerns, the builder stayed the course and completed the home. They ultimately kept to their blueprints, down to every minute detail.
And I for one, am very thankful they did.
Had it been up to me from the beginning, we likely would have tried to build the home without blueprints. As a result, we would have been left with a home that would have had a better than not chance of caving in on itself.
The builder knew what was in my best interest better than I did.
You see, I lacked a full understanding of how all the pieces ultimately fit together. I poorly underestimated the impact of even just one stage deviating from the instructions in the blueprints.
Unfortunately, I think I am guilty of doing the same thing at times with God.
I see God’s plans, his design for my life, through what I have available to read and study in the Bible. Yet at times I still find myself trying to take shortcuts or getting frustrated because perhaps God’s plan may not be how I would do it.
Would you tell your doctor how to diagnose you? Do you tell the restaurant how to prepare your food? Should I tell my builder how to build my house?
The answer, is almost laughably no.
That’s their job, not yours.
Yet, we do that with God don’t we.
We ignore Jeremiah 29:11 where God speaks to His people in exile who are under captivity in Babylon saying, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
God has the master plan.
We forget Proverbs 3:5-6 where it reads, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
I don’t know about you, but I like straight paths. They are much easier to navigate, particularly when it’s stormy, and all I want to do is get home.
I think it is easy to view the Bible and Christianity on the surface as being restrictive or limiting. I mean, there are a number or rules and commandments explicitly given in the New Testament for Christians to follow.
However, that was simply not God’s design, to be restrictive. Instead, in His own words Jesus said the following in John 8:31-32, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
God’s word, His commandments, Christ’s example are our blueprints to reach salvation.
Imagine trying to reach Heaven without them.
I personally would have collapsed under the burden of having to decide how to build our house and ensure that it was safe and would withstand the elements life would throw at it without blueprints.
I no longer see blueprints for building a home as a set of restrictions. Instead, I am thankful to have an acutely specific guide to follow which frees up the burden of worry from my mind.
Likewise, I am thankful for the Bible and for the commandments of God that guide my path (Psalms 119:105), and rather than feeling “restricted” in my life; I feel empowered.
With God’s word as my blueprint, I know I have a path toward success.
And there is no way I would want to build my life without it.
“God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.” – Jim Elliot