A few months ago we made a discovery in our big, red Dodge Ram van (with no back seat it carries eight-passengers with lots of storage space). In the back, underneath the carpet, rust had slowly done its work. We found to our dismay holes several feet long and a few inches wide running alongside both rear wheel wells. Obviously salty spray, having been thrown upward during our Hoosier winters, had eaten away at the metal flooring.
This van still has a good engine, holds many memories of family vacations, and is our main source of transporting students and all their belongings to and from college. So it had to be fixed. My son, Trevor, took it upon himself to repair the damage. Armed with tools, materials, and counsel from his boss in the repair shop where he works over the summer, he went to it one day. He began grinding away at the holes so he could prime then cover the surfaces. After several hours, I went out to see how it was going. Crawling under the van to get a look underneath, I checked on the gas tank for Trevor (don’t want to grind that!) then pushed myself out to get back up. I lifted my head, but it stopped abruptly after about six inches. The bottom corner of the side door, which I had forgotten was open, made sure of that.
Groaning, I got up to find blood dripping down my face. As we were home alone, Trevor had to stop grinding and put his CNA training into practice. As I stood looking in the mirror at the gash in my head with him helping me apply the Steri-strips, several thoughts went through my aching head.
Great. Try to fix a hole in the van and I end up with one in my head.
The good news about being bald: Easy to apply the Steri-strips and no costly hospital visit.
The bad news about being bald: No way to hide the scar.
Trevor’s boss had said to him, “Tell your dad to stick to preaching” when he had heard of my plan for fixing the holes. I should have listened.
Eventually we got me patched up and, before the week was over, so was the van. Trevor primed the sheeting, cut the pieces to size, applied the glue, and then came to the time to rivet them in place. However, since you don’t want to rivet the gas tank or a hundred other various wires, suspension parts, etc., someone had to go back under the van. With my head less achy and a “touch” wiser, I crawled back underneath and helped by measuring and guiding his riveting above. When the pieces were in place, I applied rubber undercoating while Trevor finished cleaning up. It looks like new. Well, almost.
Though we all may not know the second law of thermodynamics, we all know what will happen eventually. Even if our patching holds out for a time, other parts of the van will eventually rust, fall apart, or stop working. One day “Big Red” will succumb and become a big, red rust bucket.
Sobering yet interesting how the same verb used to describe in the Bible the work of rust on metal (Matthew 6:19) is used by James to describe the work of sin on us (James 4:14). James tell us we are here for a moment, then we eventually vanish or, if you will, rust away. I have more in common with Big Red than just holes and patches. Sadly, for those with a purely naturalistic worldview, they only see the machine of the universe but not its Maker. When they start rusting away, they only can hope for a temporary patch. Such is the case of Christopher Hitchens‘ hope for a cure from his cancer. Ultimately they believe their life story ends just like a macabre reading of the end of every Madeleine story: “That’s all there is, there isn’t any more.”
Jesus told us to lay up heavenly treasures that neither moth nor rust can destroy. Chief among those treasures, friend, should be your soul.
When I see now that purplish scar in the mirror located right where my hairline used to be, I still groan a bit. Yet I also smile. For some other scars are brought to mind, and I recall they were shown to some skeptical people after their bearer had been in a grave. Addison said, “Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week,” and what happened on that one Sunday long ago can clear a life time of rust away. Trusting in Him, I know that my time rusting, as well as being a rust bucket, will not be for long.