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Sledgehammer 750AT
We sometimes need a bigger hammer

Regular contributor Jane Walters recently faced a challenge which required the strength and resources of a greater power.

When I moved into my house, the front garden was dominated by a tall row of conifers. Presumably planted as a hedge, they’d clearly had grander ambitions which needed to be thwarted. I lopped off the branches bit by bit, leaving trunks about four feet tall – unlikely statues with wisps of fresh greenery that defied my attempts to destroy them. For now, I could do no more.
Fast forward a couple of months and I called in some help. However, the very nice chap turned up with his chain-saw with no notice and I wasn’t around to supervise. The stumps were lower now, true, but I was no nearer to being able to plant my new hedging.
Whilst I have many useful DIY skills, tree-felling isn’t one of them. All I have had at my disposal is a jigsaw with a three-inch blade, some secateurs, and a pruning saw. You can be sure that I have had a good old go with all of them, with negligible effect. (I’m sure the stumps are mocking me.) My puny tools are matched by my equally inadequate upper-body strength.
My story tries to illustrate how we like to get ourselves out of a problem. Book shelves are lined with self-help titles tackling everything from well-being and mental health issues to obscure physical ones. DIY stores imply that we can do away with experts and simply roll up our sleeves – although how often does a trip to B&Q end up with one to A&E?! And what about the perennial trap of thinking that we’re better off working things out ourselves when we get disappointed by friendships and relationships?
We’re walking through Lent right now, when Christians recall Jesus’ time in the wilderness – a season of preparation for His ministry which would ultimately take Him to the cross. He was alone, yes, but also, no. He knew the consolation of God’s constant presence, and had the word of God on His mind and in His mouth. When the testing came, when the enemy pressed in hard, Jesus didn’t rely on His own strength but drew down from God. If even Jesus had to do this, how much more should we?
Just as I know that my trees need more than a borrowed sledge-hammer: they need a strong man’s muscles attached to it; so we, too, must come to accept we need help from a higher, more powerful source. Let’s determine to place our hands in God’s and face life’s challenges together.

The sledgehammer picture is courtesy of Jane Walters.

Jane Walters 175Jane Walters, formerly Clamp, is the author of Too Soon, a mother’s journey through miscarriage (SPCK) and a regular contributor to Premier Radio and UCB. She is also vice-chair of the Association of Christian Writers. Jane leads creative writing retreats and is a popular speaker locally and further afield. Visit: janewyattwalters.com

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