Oct 11, 2012

Still Imperfect

In 1173 work began on the freestanding bell tower of the cathedral in Pisa, Italy. It was to be a marvel of beauty and ingenuity! But because of the improperly designed foundation and the poor soil condition, the tower began to tilt to one side. The result is that the tower actually tilts off the vertical plane - almost 15 feet from center at the top! You may know this structure as "the leaning tower of Pisa...

The tower has been shifting slowly since its construction and concerns over safety caused the town to close the structure in 1990. Since the 1960s teams of engineers, mathematicians and historians have been working together to find a solution to bring the tower upright and save it from toppling over. A few years ago, the Italian government finished the tower stabilization announced to the world that the “the tower is safe for at least another 300 years.”
But if you look at pictures of the tower it's still leaning! “How could this be?”, you might ask. “Why didn't they make the structure perfectly straight?” There are a couple of reasons. First, the tower started leaning back in the twelfth century even when the foundation was poured. So as the tower was constructed, each successive layer was shifted to compensate for the tilt. The result is that the tower is actually curved. If the tower were to be placed perfectly vertical at the bottom, it would still be out of balance. The second reason is more prag-matic. People come all over the world to see the tower. It would look strange on the postcard to say, “This is the tower formally known as the leaning tower of Pisa!” A leaning tower is what draws people.
Now there is a parallel to this phenomenon in the Christian life. Christ has redeemed us and when we become a child of God, He sends His Holy Spirit to work in our lives. Our expectation is that God would eliminate all the imperfection and make us perfectly straight; to remove all of the imperfections in life that make us out of balance. We don't want any sickness, relationship problems or weaknesses of any kind. But we live in a fallen world. Weakness will always exist.
But this weakness has another use. It is weakness that drives us to seek Jesus. He doesn't remove all our weaknesses. He gives us the strength to live with them. When God uses us in spite of our weakness, that is when we most clearly see His hand in our lives. Paul says as much in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
When people look at the tower of Pisa they see quite a sight, a “…tilting building that miraculously functions as a magnificent bell tower”. Likewise, when people look at us, they see imperfection for sure. But they also see how God turns us into a magnificent people doing His work in an imperfect world.
Pastor David Hook