If you’ve ever tried to cut cast iron, even with good quality tools, you probably appreciate how hard the stuff is. If you’ve ever had to deal with hundred-year-old sewer drains, you probably also appreciate how powerful corrosion is.
I was reminded yesterday when I had to cut down through our basement laundry floor to deal more drastically with a recurring drain problem. Finding a section of collapsed cast iron pipe several inches below the concrete explained why we’d had to call the sewer service guys out four times in five weeks.
I fabricated a saddle patch with a length of PVC half-pipe to cover the break and sealed the perimeter with silicone caulking. It’s a temporary fix but it should keep subsoil separate from wastewater for a while. The simple fact is that the whole drain line needs to be replaced sooner rather than later. Even cast iron has a limited useful life. Kept dry, it would last for centuries. Even kept wet and subject to various forces of corrosion from both inside and out, this specimen lasted for just over one century.
True holiness is intended to protect us from corrosive forces in life that wear against our minds and hearts, that seek to break down our souls and spirits. It takes something tougher than cast iron to hold up, something that is continually renewed and strengthened by faith and by God’s own presence within us. The constant refreshing of hope and a powerful, inexplicable love that continues to grow within us.
And in those cases where the corrosion does break through, we have healing grace. And a God who renews what cannot be replaced.