Wood Must Breathe

My Dad is the eldest of five boys. All five inherited the same square heads, big smiles, curly hair, and experience in carpentry. Four out of five still make a living by working with wood.

Yesterday, I listened to my uncle discuss renovations. Wood needs to breathe, he said. Old houses have lasted this long because they’re drafty. The wood can breathe. You seal a house off and you’re buying problems.

Standing in that workshop, thinking of wood needing to breathe, I’m suddenly grateful.

Because everything we see was created by the exhaled word of God. Everything we see is upheld moment-by-moment by the Word of God, who is Christ. Adam came alive by the breath of God in His nostrils, and today the only way to come truly alive is to let God breathe His Spirit back into our souls.

Sometimes we curse old homes for being so drafty. Our sophisticated self-cooling and self-heating methods fail when leaks admit an atmosphere bigger than any of our own creation. In the cold of winter or heat of summer, we vow to plug up all the holes and caulk all the windows. From here on out, every house will be completely sealed. It’s the only way to build, these days.

So our kids grow up sterile and safe. Sealed off from sky, from wind, from Spirit. They breathe artificial air and the timbers of souls rot and we wonder why society falls through so fast.

Frames of homes need to be exposed, to breathe and to settle, over time. The One who made me knows my frame. He knows my frailty, failings, fickleness and feeble heart. I am human. I am dust. Through these chinks and through these holes He breathes. He makes me new.

It’s not efficient. It’s certainly not modern. Maybe in the winter, the house of my soul will be cold. But Rutherford testified to pride rotting in winter.

The only way to stand is to let the Spirit in through my weakness and humanness.

The certain way to fall is to seal myself off.

As you go on your way, friends, remember this: Wood needs to breathe.

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