A little more than 22 years ago on Indiana Avenue in the mill town of Monaca, Pennsylvania my uncle, Harry Kirchner, Jr. was remodeling the upstairs bathroom. He was about ready to tear the plaster from the lathe when he said to my cousin something like, "You never know what we might find in these walls. You know my Pop."
Moments later amidst the falling plaster & breaking lathe he discovered a dusty wine bottle. Emptied of wine. Yet containing something more valuable. The hand written note, "Nine at night & working in the bathroom. Just finished this bottle. Think of me if you can still read this whenever it is found. Harry Kirchner."
My uncle & my cousin, tough guys both, cried. A message within a wall over forty years.
Near 11 years ago on Whitman Avenue in woody southern Forth Worth, Texas hundreds were gathered at Wedgwood Baptist Church for a youth rally. A deranged gunman opened fire, wounding seven, & killing seven people before taking his own life. He exploded a homemade pipe bomb & fired off over 100 rounds from two handguns.
Beyond the human, spiritual healing there was the physical damage to the building. Holes in walls filled. Pews completely removed. Carpet totally removed. Yet before painting afresh & recarpeting, the Christ followers of Wedgwood wrote thousands of messages & Scripture & prayers on the drywall & concrete floors of the sanctuary.
Tears flowed as freely as the grace God that was bestowed. Those messages on concrete.
This morning on South 59th Street in rolling Lincoln, Nebraska, with those remembrances in mind, I led my family to write a declaration. We wrote on the concrete basement floor before the carpet was installed today. "This basement is a testament to God's gracious provision. The Householders. August 11, 2010." I traced the kid's right hands. Wrote their age. And we each signed our names. With a big, blue permanent marker. We even took pictures.
Then, before leaving, just to make sure whoever found the message in years to come knew exactly what I meant I added the reference, "Psalm 37:4," just above our family name.
Home for lunch I met the installers. One ran upstairs to get something. The other called me by name. "Aaron, I noticed you wrote Scripture on your floor. Can you pray for me?"
Moments later we knelt on that newly padded floor & prayed together. Tears flowing. Scripture written beneath us. A message on concrete.
Just as sure as that concrete is solid my message was: God is sovereign.
He put those experiences in my past. He put that Scripture in my heart. He put that man in my basement. He knew.
There is no coincidence. There is only providence.
That is a concrete message.
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9
Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21