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Some Assembly Required

Kaitlin texted me yesterday to let me know that my bike had arrived. I was thrilled. I found it on eBay last week for a good price after going without one for three years. That’s what I deserve for leaving my Trek outside and overnight at St. John’s with a flimsy cable lock – an invitation to get it stolen. I think waiting to replace it was my self-imposed penance. Anyways, I’m free of all that now and ready to move on. I was also determined not to have to borrow someone else's bike again for the annual Bike Ride to Redondo Beach this Saturday. That being said, I wasn’t on the bike path quite yet….

That’s because my “8 speed Evo Action City Urban Bike” didn’t come ready to ride. Did I really think FedEx would deliver a fully assembled product to my front door? Have I ever seen anything but boxes come out of the back of those delivery trucks? Did I really believe that eBay’s promise to deliver the product as advertised included fully assembled bikes? Do I think I’m beginning to whine here? Yes. No. Yes. and definitely Yes.

When I got home I knew that I had to get this done, which brings me to my unoriginal observation: From cereal box toys to model airplanes, entertainment units, and IKEA bookshelves, many things do not come pre-assembled. The end user often has to find an allen wrench, a paintbrush, or a deep breath. It should be no surprise that those three devious words, “Some Assembly Required,” is also one of life’s biggest truths. I’ve always resonated with the Apostle Paul when he said, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for your good pleasure” (Phil. 2: 12-13). Translation: Some Assembly Required.

I thank God every day that we are not only saved by grace, but that we are made by grace too. To paraphrase King David: “God, you assembled me in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139: 13-14). Grace is home delivery. Grace is having all the parts in the box. Grace is the Good (Instruction) Book. But grace doesn’t mean we have nothing to do. One of my professors, Dallas Willard, used to say: “Grace is opposed to earning, not effort.” Grace means that we get to work out what God is working in.

Have you ever stared at your life like the contents of a FedEx box, like it was a bunch of unassembled parts, unsure what to do next? I would encourage you to look at the Instruction Book. Oddly enough, the assembly instructions to my bike were not included, but I found some online. I continue to find guidance and power when I consult God’s word. Then, ask for help. As it turns out, I was able to put the bike together last night…but when I tried to adjust the handlebar height, I could not tighten it down properly. So, I decided to take it to Wheel World this morning. I marveled at how quickly the repair shop guy fine tuned everything and fixed the handlebar height in about five minutes. His fee? $15 bucks. That was grace! Getting help from those more experienced than ourselves is not just an option, it’s what the Bible calls “wisdom”.

I’m excited about riding my newly assembled bike on Saturday, but even more that you and I are beautifully assembled by the God “who will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus”(Phil. 4:19). Hope to see you soon…

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