In our weekly study at church, we’ve been studying the weighty subject of end times. Will there be an eternal hell, will I ever achieve perfection before the Lord’s Big Day, etc.? As I ponder these theological conundrums I have learned that aside from the Good Book, answers can be found occassionally in the most unorthodox way.
Last week, my wife no doubt restless from a harsh winter season, ordered not one but four pieces of furniture. No not the assembled kind, this is the kind that requires a Harvard engineering degree, the steady hand of nucleur physicist and the calm spirit of Billy Graham to assemble.
I reached a quick conclusion that if you don’t want your angel using WhiteOut corrective fluid liberally on your heavenly record, assemble all furniture only while blasting gospel music throughout the work area. It helps when the last screw inadvertently goes plum through the other side of the smooth surface, and your tongue wants to betray you.
There is a spiritual lesson when putting together cheap furniture. It mirrors life. You start out with enthusiasm, then when the box (life) is open, you become overwhelmed with it’s intricate parts. All the while you trudge your lonely path studying the instruction manual wondering when by faith your nightmare will mercifully end.
As I unwrapped the large cardboard box, twelve blister packs of parts fell out onto the floor, twelve!
A pipe organ couldn’t have this much hardware! Then as if 12 wasn’t enough, the shadowy figure who packed the potential file cabinet added a 13th pack labeled “miscellaneous parts”. Why didn’t he just place a note on the plastic sleeve that said, “We swept the floor, thought you could use this?”
If you need guidance, don’t even try to call the help line unless you know Mandarin Chinese. I threw away the instructions when I saw the manufacturers phone number begin with an (081) area code followed by 24 numerals.
And so as the task commenced I found the experience a mix of frustration, highs, lows, and ultimately joy. The same path we follow as believers.
Now going back to my original premise that particle board furniture does indeed offer glimpses of theological clarity, I return to my first question.
Is there an eternal hell? Well I can’t prove my theory to quell all doubters, but I don’t believe so. However if there is an eternal hell, it will entail a large sweaty group of people assembling particle board furniture with bent screwdrivers and extra blister packs.