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Trust the Instructions

July 20, 2015

A friend recently purchased a home and some updates were needed.  Several of her friends including me and my wife have stepped up to help with some of the work.  I volunteered to install the cement board and the ceramic tile in the master bathroom.  It is a job I have done before, so why not?Tile

But to refresh my memory, I did some online research and even watched a few YouTube instructional videos so that I could go in with a bit of confidence.  Everything started out well. Along with the help of my friend’s youngest son, who really “enjoyed” the fact that I bust out singing when I work (classic rock songs to which I only know some of the words); we got the cement board down and the next day laid the tile.  With the help of a borrowed tile saw, I even made some pretty nifty cuts.  “Tile-man” was in the groove.

After letting the tile set up the appropriate time, it was ready for the grout.  I read the instructions on the can for the grout.  Six simple steps (illustrated even): 1) Apply the grout to a small section. 2) Spread it out with the float. 3) Work it into the joints with the float at a 45 degree angle.   4) Scrape off the excess grout with the float at 90 degrees.  5) Using a damp sponge wipe off the tiles. 6) Dry the tiles with a cotton cloth.

I just knew that the grout had to set up.  I just knew that using the damp sponge too soon would ruin the job.  I re-read the instructions, two more times.  They can’t be right.  So I decided that the instructions were incomplete and I did steps 1 to 4 ish.  The “ish” was step 4.  I left quite a bit of residual grout on the floor.  It would just dry and I would wipe it off.  No problem.  So I left to come back in the morning to do steps 5 and 6.  “It won’t take long at all, probably 30 minutes.” I confidently told my wife.

This morning I arrived to find the grout seriously stuck to the top of the tiles.  I kinda freaked.  Correction, I really freaked.  I had images of having to tear up the tile and start all over.  I would have to pay for this error.  What had I done?  The worst part of it all was it was not my house!  I began to scrape and scrub and sweat, and pray that no one showed up.  (At least God answered that prayer).  A 30 minute chore turned into a 90 minute ordeal leaving me at the point of exhaustion, and needing a second shower at 8:30 in the morning.  Eventually, I was able to get all the dry, encrusted grout up and clean the floor and in the middle of it all I learned a huge lesson with major spiritual implications.  The lesson simply stated  is: Trust the instructions.

Over the years I have talked to people who tell me they read their Bible.  But when they share a decision they have made, or are about to make, there is nothing remotely biblical about their logic.  “It feels right.”  “I have always wanted to do this.”  “It was on my bucket list.” etc.  Or the worst one in my opinion:  “I know what the Bible says, but….”   It is one thing to read the Bible, but when we read the Bible we need to trust the instructions.  In fact Satan’s oldest strategy is to try to get us to doubt the instructions:  “Did God really say…?” (Genesis 3:1).  The simple answer is, “Yes He did.”

When I read my Bible and trust the instructions God gives I find the familiar words of the Psalmist to be ever true: “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105).

Life may still throw a few curve balls at me and I may not fully understand the circumstances but at least when I am trusting God’s instructions I am not making a huge mess that turns a simple 30 minute chore into a 90 minute ordeal.


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