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Damp patches on living room wallDamp patches showed up yesterday on my living room wall, just to the side of where the fireplace used to be. My first reaction was to examine the exterior wall, but I could see nothing amiss. I also figured that any damp would have difficulty penetrating the cavity wall, especially now that it is full of polystyrene bead insulation. The most likely explanation is that water has got into and down the chimney (it has been very wet and windy of late) and run across the top of the concrete lintel holding up the wall above the former fireplace. The water must then have found its way down the edge of the remaining fireplace structure and soaked through into the plaster.

Finding a solution is going to require close examination of the top of the chimney to see if there is any damage that may have allowed water to penetrate. This is easier said than done as someone borrowed my ladders several years ago and failed to return them. Consequently, I need to borrow a ladder of the correct height, and I need help not only to hold the ladder, but also to advise on how best to repair any damage I might find.

All this got me thinking about Jesus. If Jesus were here in person would He hold the ladder, or would He insist on going up the ladder to assess the damage? Would Jesus help me repair the damage or would He just shout advice from a position of safety on the ground? Or perhaps Jesus would organise the whole damage assessment and repair without me having to lift a finger? What would Jesus do?

There have been times in my life when I have climbed a ladder without anyone standing on the ground below holding on. I don’t do that any more. Quite why/when/how I became that sensible/risk averse I don’t know. But I have to confess that there have been many other occasions in my life when I have acted rashly and foolishly without any thought of potential consequences. With hindsight I realise that Jesus was always there beneath me holding onto the ladder, even though I could not see Him most of the time. And, Jesus had all the answers. It’s just that I neglected to climb down the ladder and consult Him.

Life could be compared with being perched on a ladder that is swaying dangerously in the wind. For many of us the New Year brings no end to our troubles. It may even feel as if we are about to fall from the ladder and plunge to the ground! But the real question is why hang precariously at the top of a ladder when Jesus is standing on the ground holding the ladder and looking up? When Jesus spent three years training up a team of disciples He didn’t walk behind them shouting out advice. He walked alongside them and He taught by example. Jesus was always there. Jesus is always here. How foolish it is to try and live life without Him.

Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples left town, a large crowd followed him. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road. When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 

“Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.” So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you!” Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked. “My rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road. (Mark 10:46-52 NLT)