The deafening drone of the masonry saw, the pounding ring of the sledge hammer, the crash of waste materials thrown down—all sweet sounds of renovation. In fact, we have a plaque hanging in the middle of the work area that reads “Joyful Noise.” The ex-recording studio is being converted to a meeting place for Bible students, a library of resources, a study for my husband, and a retreat for visiting friends.
When we bought “The Black Brothers” (as we fondly call it in honour of the former reggae group who recorded there), we knew that making it suitable for human use was going to be a lot of work. The leaky roof had rotted timber in the ceiling, and glue remained on walls and ceilings where carpet had been ripped off. Rats had made good use of the old insulation between the walls for their nests, and a few displaced rodents have met their bitter end in our house this week. Water and electricity were issues desperately needing solutions, and worst of all the whole place was dank and dark inside. Since a recording studio is built to block out all outside disturbance, there were no windows and no natural ventilation.
But something is transforming the Black Brothers now, or I should say, someone. Rodney arrived last week with his work clothes and tools, years of experience working with his hands on many mission fields, and determination to make a difference. Rodney’s appearance has heralded a permanent change for the Black Brothers, and as windows and doors are cut out of the cement, power is hooked up, soundproof walls and ceilings torn down and carried out, we can all begin to see the reality of the vision taking shape. But before the classroom and library and prophet’s chamber can be built, the whole place must be gutted and opened up. The cement dust and shreds of fibreglass are preparing the way for study books and lively spiritual discussions—devastation preceding construction.
As a non-builder, I am intimidated by this kind of destruction. It would be easier to paint over the glue, mop up after the rain and use as extension cord from the house to light the place up. No loud noises, no irreversible change. But the rats would still be living in the walls, the musty smell would spoil everything stored there, and no fresh air or sunlight would brighten the place.
“I appoint you . . . to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant,” came the word of the Lord to Jeremiah. Destruction comes before building, uprooting before planting. Those words are for Israel, but the principle holds true for New Testament believers too: “That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness “ (Ephesians 4:22-24). So as I listen to the noise of renovation, I wonder what kind of renovation God is doing in me. Painful as it may be to my pride and comfort, God is committed to changing me into the image of His Son. Let me be open to His renovating hand in my life, tearing down and uprooting what stinks of self and sin and replacing the devastation with His grace and light.