The other day I was building a simple doorway in our stairway to
keep the heat from going upstairs and therefore save fuel in our
newly-installed furnace. I had measured out and sawed the old
two-by-fours and fitted them into place. But I wasn’t pleased.
Neither was the wife. The old pieces were out of a roof, and had
ugly notches cut in them. So we both agreed I should make it out of
Thus, armed with my old door-frame pieces, I was off to Ansonia,
Ohio, Lumber Company, to pick out some straight two-by-fours and
have them cut. The correct measurements were well marked, so I
thought, on the old pieces. All that remained was for the lumber
yard shop man to transfer these measurements over to the new
pieces, then trim and plane them a bit. I had the exact angle of
the stairs marked clearly on the older pieces. How easy it was to
transfer those marks over onto the new pieces. The big, whirring
saw-blade trimmed and mitered them to ‘perfection’. After
paying the bill (as if in gold dust), I was soon back and trying to
fit the new pieces onto the very old stairway. But, when it came to
fitting the stair-rise angle into the new piece, I discovered that
the shop man had sketched it onto the wrong side of the
two-by-four. Thus, when it was placed against the wall, the
neatly-mitered angle went down instead of up. What a dilemma. I
couldn’t go back and have the shop man replace it ‘for
free’. I would have to be paying double for what I was going to
use. And last of all would I try and accuse the shop man of making
a mistake, for he was so kind in trying to please me. Besides it
would be forty extra miles of driving at a time when fuel and gas
rationing was breathing down our necks.
I simply decided that, since buying new lumber is like mining
gold, I would do my best to correct the error and use the same
pieces. By my trusty old hand-saw I merely followed the corrective
lines I drew, in spite of the wrong angles mitered at the lumber
yard shop. The piece fitted fine up against the old stairway wall,
allowing for the angled baseboard and the old railing which I left
intact. But there was empty places both in the middle and at the
bottom of my piece which have to be filled up in order to cover up
the mistakes we made in wrongly transferring our angles from the
old to the new piece.
I don’t like to make such obvious errors as this. The
easiest way would be for me to ‘blame the shop man’ for
wrongly marking it. But I was there, too, and should have known
better than to allow him to do it the wrong way. But I didn’t.
So I was as much to blame as he even a little more so.
One thing I have noticed is that many things I have taken to a
shop to be cut, trimmed or planed, they have not fitted when I
brought them back to nail in place. More than once, almost every
time in fact, I’ve had to re-work the angles and notches by
hand, filling up the empty places, made by the big machine. It has
not always been the shop man’s fault, nor his machine’s.
For machines are only limited in their ability to compensate for
angles that have to be fitted in old houses that oftentimes have
sagging floors, or wood beams that twist over the years and/or
walls that lean out of plumb. But I have always managed to finish
the work out by hand, and fill in here and there so no one, not
even myself, was the wiser that, underneath somewhere, lay the
hidden errors and mistakes.
The thought came to me that, ‘Life is like that. It is
costly and one must dig deeply into the pockets of his jeans in
order to purchase a little of it. No one is able to go through life
without making costly mistakes every day. Mistakes which we all too
clearly see after they have been made. But the great value in life
is to learn how to correct our lives, in spite of our errors. To
make our lives over and get the measurements right, once again,
after we’ve made the wrong marks, takes a lot of extra work,
will power, resolution and time. But it is well worth it, if we
want things to be right. Just like it was in making the correct
angle over the wrong one in my stairway door frame, then covering
and filling the empty places in again, to make it just as good and
sturdy and perfect-appearing as if the mistakes hadn’t been
The greatest hope of mankind is that, with all the mistakes we
have made in the past in our lives, the Bible promises that we can
be made over, like new just as if the mistakes had never occurred.
And, since all of us make many mistakes throughout life, there is
no greater gift that can be bestowed on mankind than this. I’m
sure that, if we took an old beat-up and much-battered jalopy to a
dealer and he gave us a brand new, latest model car in return for
it, and without extra charge save that we drive more carefully from
now on, we would feel he was the kindest man we had ever met. Yet,
in the pages of the Bible we read how God gives us another chance.
He takes our old, wrecked lives and makes them new again, without
charge, except that from now on we must resolve to live better
lives according to His will.
And He who re-makes our lives is doing so to something much more
priceless than an automobile which can more easily be replaced than
can flesh and mind and soul. The great Bible expositor, the late
Dr. Barn house once said, ‘God is the greatest junk dealer of
all. He takes in the most miserable and hopeless of human wrecks
and makes them new again.’
But the Divine Grace of human reclamation that we can all enjoy
now was a long time a-coming, as recorded in the pages of
scripture. First of all God tried to show man a better way of life
through the few who were stalwart and faithful in listening to His
voice, such as Abraham and Lot. Then He tried to reach man through
Moses and The Ten Commandments with Divinely appointed Judges to
interpret those laws. But mankind still wanted to go his own way.
Later the Prophets were sent to interpret the times and the future
as another Divine attempt to reclaim man back into God’s
Finally, God decided He’d have to come in person to save man
from his errors and ways. So He sent his own Son, Jesus Christ, who
lived and mingled and taught among men ‘that they might have
life and have it more abundantly.’ But still man persisted in
his own stubborn ways until a Savior had to die in order that we
may live and not die for our mistakes and ways. Since man
wouldn’t make an effort to go right, after all of God’s
efforts, He had to die in our place, that we might have life in
spite of our mistakes, and only for the asking.
To believers this is what the blessed season of Christmas and
Easter are all about. Despite the fact that men still attach great
commercial value, such as Christmas gifts and toys and Easter
Bunnies and eggs to them, there are those that remain faithful to
the coming of a promised Messiah and His final sacrifice that man
might have eternal life.
Though man has always been, and still is a remarkable and
intelligent ‘critter’, there are dead-ends where he winds
up and needs someone special to get him out of his dilemma. How
many times have men who are qualified as steam engineers worked to
repair their engines. And most of the time they can get them back
to working order. But, every once in a while a problem or dilemma
arises wherein a ‘special engineer’ must be called in to
find the trouble. They used to call them ‘factory experts’.
They were the guys who were supposed to know the final answers to
the big, evasive problems that the home mechanics were not able to
solve. I am reminded of a story told by one of my high school
teachers, Franz Robuck. Said he, ‘An industrial plant once had
to shut down because one of its big and complicated machines had
broken down and wouldn’t run. The plant’s experts tried
everything they knew to start it again, but failed. Finally they
had to call the factory that made it and they sent an expert. The
expert looked over the machine, picked up a hammer and hit it and
it began running again. When the plant manager asked how much they
owed the expert, he replied, ‘Five hundred dollars.’ And
they said, ‘Five hundred dollars just to hit it once with a
hammer?’ And his answer was, ‘No just one dollar to hit it
with the hammer. But four hundred and ninety-nine dollars to KNOW
WHERE to hit it.’
Now I recall many times when I’ve made stubborn
contraptions, like Rube Goldberg nightmares, work again, merely by
hitting them with my fist or kicking them rather heftily with my
foot. Things like so-called stamp dispensers in post offices or
coin machines in laundromats, and even candy and coffee
‘automats’ in theatres and garages sometimes the old fist
or heel will convince them to start working once again. Or like the
time when I was a young blood working in the local town theatre,
and one nickel and a kick made the candy machine belch forth twenty
bars, one after the other. (WOW but hard on my teeth).
Is it any wonder that as we advance through life, our spines are
curved, our sacroiliacs have rotated out of place, and our stomachs
go ‘Blah’ kicking and hitting at those one-armed bandits to
get our nickel’s worth of junk food in return. And that our
tempers become so jaded that only God can reclaim our souls?
And then to think how the old-time steam engineers have had to
pound and kick (yea even, use the Lord’s name in vain) to get
their big and hefty contraptions to running again.
All of which makes us to understand only the more why many wind
up with achin’ backs, curvature of the spine, stiff-necked and
lost in both mind and soul. But, like the stubborn old steam
engines they make to work again, so the body is often responsive to
what we can do for it, if only we know how. Even though the doctors
may give up.
The book I have recently been reading tells how a certain
Osteopath has discovered that many of the illnesses of our upper
trunk stem from a misplaced sacra-iliac in the hip joint.
Curvatures result in the upper spine, digestive troubles ensue,
pain in great areas of our muscles, even arthritis and painful
hemmroids develop from this displacement at the lower end of the
spinal column which results from the base being thrown on a tilt.
In such cases all the pills in the world will not help. Only
correction at the base can start the body back on the road to
health. And this doctor shows how one simple exercise, or
adjustment can put the sacro-iliac joint back in place.
We described this simple self-adjustment in the previous column
of IMA, and it would be wise to review it carefully and with
understanding. Every time I adjust my sacro-iliac I tell others I
have just saved myself five dollars and waiting all afternoon in a
doctor’s office. The author claims that even so-called slipped
discs will eventually benefit from this adjustment, usually without
operation, as do also the upper curvatures and other pains and
sicknesses and suffering that result over the years. In order to
get well, we must get down to the very basics. Just as in God’s
plan, the basic evils that rob man of life are restored to faith
and only then is man made whole.
‘I have come that they might have life and have it more
What more is there to gain than that?