The Battle Wages

“If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

-Alexander Solzhenitzyn,
The Gulag Archipelago

Last week I headed out to the building site to work in Robbie's office. It's been a little project of mine for the past few months to get it ready for him. Now that Moving Day is almost here, it's finally time to start working on the details.

In order to prepare concrete walls for paint, they must be scraped with a metal spatula and sanded. It took me an entire day just to smooth the walls to an acceptable finish, though I did get a late start due to a protesters' road block that morning. After the walls were sanded, I cleaned them with a heavy-duty broom. When the cloud of concrete dust finally settled, they looked pretty good.

The next morning I applied a coat of primer to seal the walls and keep the paint from popping off from the moisture. Eric (*name has been changed), a young man who trusted Christ as a child and recently rededicated his life to the Lord, works on the crew out at the building site. Although he was laying tile this particular week, his specialty is painting (You have to know how to do a little of EVERYTHING when you work construction in Honduras!). I consulted him several times about the sanding technique and how to apply the primer. He showed me a few tricks and lent me a device he had fashioned to clean excess paint off the roller right out of the bucket. He even taped off a window for me as I worked, so that I wouldn't have to stop. As we worked, we listened to BBN, one of the few Christian stations broadcast in Honduras. The program "Unshackled" was playing, and Eric commented on how much he enjoyed that particular series. I knew Eric had a drinking problem and could relate to the stories that aired.

The next morning, I was finally able to begin painting with the colors I had selected for the room. It was exciting to see it all coming together. Eric came up to check on me, and saw me struggling to cut in the edges near the ceiling with a horribly cheap brush the paint store had sold me. "They just don't have good quality brushes here!" he sighed. "Wait a minute, I've got something you can use." He came back with his backpack and removed a 45 degree angled brush with a wooden handle. He presented it to me with obvious pride. "My twin brother works as a painter in Georgia; he sends me brushes sometimes. It'll be much easier to work with this."

I thankfully accepted the brush and soon learned he was right; I was able to work twice as fast and quickly finished the first coat. When Eric saw me beginning to put my supplies away, he offered to wash out my tray, brushes, and roller. I saw him carefully wash and dry his angled brush, then place it back in its original packaging. I felt guilty for even using it; it was clearly a prized possession.

I called my mom that night and asked if she and Dad could pick up some new brushes for me before they come down on Friday. I thought it would be a nice way to thank Eric for his help on Robbie's office.

Last night I learned the main part of the crew had finished their jobs at the church and would not be working today. I called Alex the foreman first thing this morning to see if he could get in touch with Eric; I could hire him to finish the second coat on Robbie's office so that I could work here at the house.

Alex called back a few minutes ago with bad news. He had looked for Eric for a good part of the morning and finally found him at a neighborhood bar, drunk and unable to work. My heart hurts for him, knowing what a battle he is in.

It's so tempting to herd people into groups. The good and the evil. But the truth is, we all are both. We are all in a battle. I am praying that the Lord will do a work in Eric's heart and that he will one day have his own "Unshackled" story to tell.

I also pray He will work in my own heart. May I never think that I am one of the "good." My heart is no different from Eric's; there is good, but there is evil as well. I must daily surrender my will, crucify the flesh, and pray for victory. He is the only One who has the power to unshackle.
4 Responses
  1. I will be praying for "Eric" and that his heart will be opened to the truth of God's Word which can release him from the bondage of sin. Thanks for sharing this story, its good to remember where we could all be but for the grace of God!

  2. Clara Snipes Says:

    We will pray for Eric during these uncertain days in his life. May he realize his wrong doing and come back to our Lord Jesus for strength and His Truth. We continue to pray for you, your hubby and daughter's work in Honduras. Love and prayers. :) <3<3<3<3<3<3<3

  3. Kathy Says:

    What a poignant reminder of who we ALL are in Christ. God's drawing him back and using you in that process. SHINE!

  4. Ricky Says:

    I found some first-quality paint brushes at Lowes for Eric. We are looking forward to meeting him. I love you.

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