If you read my last blog post you know I recently participated in a church project where a group of church members spruced up the outside of an old home in an impoverished neighborhood. Of all the tasks we were charged with that day, the most daunting was the removal of a large set of cement steps that was not being used and was no longer needed.
My husband is quite the handy man, having done lots of repair and remodeling on many homes. He was sure that with a few hours of jackhammering he could break up the steps and have them out of there. The plan was to replace them with some nice shrubbery.
But after about 3 hours of jackhammering, he had barely removed a fourth of the stubborn mass. Apparently they were very old, and the older concrete gets, the harder it gets. Also, they had not been poured around a wooden form but were solid concrete. These things were not budging, and my husband was getting tired. Besides, we needed him to help with the other work that still needed to be done. Our work crew was blessed with a lot of women who knew how to do yard work, but we couldn't run a power saw. There was lattice to cut and another set of wooden steps to rebuild.
So what to do? I am not one who bothers God with my every little problem. I figure he has more important things to do and leaves the day to day issues up to me to resolve. But this was not a little problem - this was big. The steps were now looking pretty bad. Chunks had been removed here and there and they now even uglier than they were before, and probably a hazard for anyone to climb on. So I decided we needed help.
You know the Bible verse: "If you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain 'Be though removed' and it will be cast into the sea." Well how about some concrete steps? We had already approached a couple different bobcat operators who were running up and down the street delivering mulch. "If you could split them in two we could possibly pick them up," they had told me. But they were not even close to being split in two. We were getting desperate, so I did the only thing I could think of. I prayed. "God, we need your help. Please send someone to help us get these steps out of here." And then I waited and watched through a few more hours of futile jackhammering, while the steps dissolved at the rate of about a half inch an hour.
But wait! Who is that coming down the street? They mayor! "Hey, Madame Mayor! Can you call someone to come help us get these steps out of here?" She was immediately on the walkie talkie calling for help.
All that jackhammering had managed to knock a few inches off at the top and bottom of the steps. A neighbor had offered a steel chain, and our crew had already done the dirty work of crawling under the porch and wrapping a it around the steps. The bobcat arrived, they hooked up the chain, and lifted. The steps rose about 6 inches off the ground, just enough to allow the bobcat to drag it out into the road and drop it there. Now it was the city's problem!
Thank you Lord!