The Rusty Nail


After months of asking, I finally decided to repair the roof on my mother-in-laws patio. We made a material list and my wife came with me to the large hardware and lumber store to buy the supplies.

In order to repair the roof I would need two-by-fours about fourteen feet in length. I purchased these, along with the other supplies we needed and pushed the cart out to my pickup truck.

As we left the store I noticed a large, rusty, roofing nail on the parking lot. Since I was pushing the cart I asked my wife to pick it up in order to prevent someone from having to repair a flat tire.

I loaded the material into the truck and proceeded to strap down the two-by-fours on the roll bar. But I had difficulty in securing the long two-by-fours. It seemed that no matter how I tied the boards down they would slip, length-wise, through the straps. After several attempts at different methods frustration began to set in. I realized that if I put a nail through the strap and into the two-by-fours they would not slip.

I began to go through my truck looking for a nail, any nail. I looked in my toolbox and glove box and behind the seat. I looked everywhere and did not find a single nail, which is unusual because I am always doing something that requires a nail and always seem to have some around.

Frustration crept in, and then as my anger peaked I remembered that my wife had a nail. The roofing nail she picked up would work just fine. It was old and rusted and slightly bent, but that did not prevent it from doing the job. In just a few seconds the nail was driven in and the boards were secure. Without complications, without trials, without the fanfare of problem solving, with just a few short strokes of a hammer and my problems were solved.

As we drove home I was a little quite, being that I had embarrassed myself with my frustration and anger. It was then that I realized what God was saying to me.

God had supplied my needs as we left the store. He supplied my needs that day as my wife picked up that rusty nail. Before I even knew I needed a nail, God supplied it. Even with a store, just a few feet away, full of nails that I could have purchased, God decided to freely give what I needed, one rusty nail.

Living in the richest nation on earth with all of the resources available, with all the churches and places of worship available to me, God chose to supply my needs two thousand years ago, with three rusty nails. When Jesus freely gave up His life on the cross He supplied everything I would ever need. With three rusty nails, used and slightly bent: with a few strokes of a hammer, and in the fullness of time, the God of the universe opened up the supply house of heaven and pored out His grace and love upon a lost an dying world.

For a time I saved the nail in my wife's china hutch. The nail was not some icon but merely a reminder of God's provision for me. It is to my shame that God should need to remind me in such a way of His promises. It is to my shame that God would need to remind me of the greatest experience of my life, Meeting Jesus.

I learned as a child that "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever Believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) I serve a loving and giving Father. Together, with the tools and material He has supplied, His Church will accomplish His will. All praise and glory belong unto Him forever.

Bruce R Wolf brwolf@internet8.net Chaplain Little Calliou Vol. Fire Department Chauvin Louisiana

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