The Renovation

October 15, 2017
by Robin Ross

This past winter, our family decided to renovate the kitchen in the cabin at our waterfront property on the coast of British Columbia, Canada. We had to rip out the old cupboards and wallboard, trash the old rusty range, roll up the carpet, and then redo the wiring, drywall, plumbing, and cabinetry. We did all the work ourselves. It took many trips, because we couldn't stay more than a couple of days at a time; life at home has to go on!

One of the tasks that we undertook was to install new vinyl plank flooring. Each plank was 9 inches wide, 48 inches long, and 5 millimetres thick. We laid out 8 planks end-to-end along the 32-foot-long floor, and discovered that the wall was not straight! After snapping a chalk line along the best layout of the planks, I began gluing down the first plank. It was then that I realized how critical was the orientation of the first plank in relationship to the chalk line, which was now blurred under the glue on the floor. It needed to be aimed in exactly the right direction.

The planks are very accurately engineered and are unforgiving of errors in fitting them together. We had to be extremely careful to align precisely the ends and sides of adjoining planks. Otherwise, the next row would not fit, and there would be unacceptable gaps between the rows. When we got to the end of the long room, we were pleased that the narrow gap between the planks and the wall was only 1/4-inch less than we had planned. Our aim had been good.

The whole exercise was an analogy of life. The planks — God's laws — represent the truth about life. They are straight and square, and are unforgiving in the sense that when we do not live by them (as we inevitably fail to do), or when we try to bend or reshape their meaning to fit our desires, there are always consequences — nothing fits, and confusion results. In many ways, how we start out in life determines the direction that we are taking and where we will end up. Fortunately, God is forgiving, so when we get off the track, we can repent and start over. God will draw a new line on the floor of our lives to start a new section, and we can head off in a new direction — His direction. Then, everything will fall into place, straight and square, and life fits together in the way that He intended all along.

Isaiah 55:6-9 – Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." (NKJV)

Prayer: Lord, inevitably, we don't end up in life where we thought we would, because we didn't start out straight with You. Forgive us, and reset the direction of our lives so that we will end up where You want us — close to Yourself. This we pray, in Jesus' name. Amen.

About the author:

Robin Ross <rross@telus.net>

Mission, British Columbia, Canada


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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good analogy Robin.


    Great illustration! Thanks for writing. Blessings.


    Well said, Robin, and an accurate and effective analogy.


    What a fascinating analogy Robin.
    Gives me a lot to think about.
    Thanks for your insight.


    Starting out and finishing the work God gives to us will be a day of jubilation.
    I pray my work will turn out (well done good and faithful servant).
    That goes for you too!!!


    Thank you for your devotional this morning. My brother and his wife just laid laminate flooring in our living room and how crucial it is to make sure that the first piece is properly set in place. Amen to your prayer.


    If you ever find a house with straight walls that is a miracle. We saw some corner shelves on sale, thought what a good idea, until we found we had not corners straight enough to use them gave them to a grandchild. I see them up in other homes but never would be in that house of ours.
    (ON)


    Dear Robin,
    Thank you for your “straight line” illustration and its application in Godly life.
    I checked a concordance and found: “I will make justice the measuring line and righteous the plumb line” (Isaiah 28:17).
    “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places” (Psalm 19:).
    I’m not suggesting you should have used these verses; I was just curious.
    Did the baseboard cover that last quarter inch?


    This is a wonderful analogy – and explanation. It’s too bad it takes so long to learn how important/essential that plum line is, and to submit ourselves to staying “straight “. We spend so much time trying to make it all fit – trying to interpret God’s Word in a way that is more favourable to our own desires. Thanks be to God, our Lord doesn’t give up on us the way we ourselves tend to want to do. You and all the other writers are part of God’s Way to keep others going!! Thank you for this. God bless.


    Robin – so very true. I think many people don’t set out to be dishonest or sinful, they just get outside of the straight lines a tiny bit at a time. Over time their life lines become very blurred and they find themselves far off the straight and narrow. Great analogy. Blessings.


    Hi Robin,
    I enjoyed your writings about the renovations at your cabin. It sounds like quite an undertaking. It is so important to start our right in life and even then, we can go astray so easily if we are not careful.
    Thank you for writing.


    When I read Isaiah 55: 6 in your devotional I was reminded of Shakespeare’s “There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood leads on to fortune; omitted ends in shallows and miseries.” For many years I was fearful that any slight mistake would be so tragic as to mean ruining my life. It was like walking on a tight rope. Then I heard a sermon in which the minister said God had called him to become missionary in China but he did not want to go. Later He called him to become a doctor but he did not take sciences in university, and thirdly God called him to become a minister and he agreed. He added that God does not give up on us. I was inspired and my fears of making wrong choices left.

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