Faithful readers of this blog know I am a woodworker. Not by profession; it is my avocation, something that keeps me from roaming the streets. It will come as no surprise, then, that I picked up a hammer quite early in life. I was using a hammer even before I knew you should use it with wood.
I rarely remember my dad raising his voice. But he definitely raised his voice on the Saturday morning he found me banging his good hammer on the concrete patio. At the young age of eight, I also learned how much our house cost, because my dad informed me that I was chipping away at his $23,000 investment. (That house is now worth $300,000. I wonder what it would be worth if I hadn’t whacked away at the patio.)
I could’ve spared my dad a lot of grief if we had had self-healing concrete. Self-healing concrete does exist, and it is as easy as breathing.
In fact, the idea came from how our bodies breath and process CO2. Nima Rahbar, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Suzanna Scarlata, a biochemist, led the way using carbonic anhydrase. Carbonic anhydrase is the very same enzyme our bodies use to transfer CO2 from cells into the blood stream. They discovered that by adding this enzyme to concrete powder, it would turn the CO2 in the air into calcium carbonate crystals. So whenever a tiny crack forms—say from an inquisitive eight-year-old with a hammer—the calcium carbonate fills in the gap. Some cracks can heal within a day. [Source]
They’re doing this with new concrete, but they can also spray a solution with the enzyme into cracks found in old concrete. Even old concrete can heal. So to the family living in my childhood home on Gunpowder Lane, I’ve got an answer for that one spot on your patio. You’re welcome.
Self-healing concrete is a great idea and has the potential to save countless dollars in road construction and repair. Self-healing is a great concept with anything, but it can only go so far. God has engineered our bodies to self-heal in so many ways, but we try to self-heal in other ways. In spite of the large inventory of books in the self-help section, there are just some things we can’t fix about ourselves.
- Health and weight issues? A regimen of good eating and exercise may be just what you need.
- Scheduling and time management issues? A good calendar and learning to say “no” to some things will get you started.
- Need to improve as a dad? Dropping the video game and picking up your kid instead will get you started.
- Need to be free of your sin and past mistakes? You can … Nope. You can’t fix that. There is no self-healing from your failure and rebellion against God. No matter how good you try to be, you just won’t bring the healing you need. Don’t take my word for it. God said so.
“There is no one righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away; all alike have become worthless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one” (Rom. 3:10-12).
Even if you see yourself as a good person, healing won’t come.
“All of us have become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like a polluted garment; all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind” (Isa. 64:6).
Promises to turn over a new leaf and do better won’t bring what you truly need. That new leaf will just wither and blow away.
What you and I need is Jesus. He provides the healing we need. The perfect Son of God took our sin; He took the “damage” upon Himself. But Jesus doesn’t just leave us with the sin removed and forgiven. He gives us a new life, a life without the cracks, flaws, and sins. He comes to live within us, to empower us to walk free of sin and live the life He created us for.
Put down the self-help book and pick up the gospel of Christ. The good news is that you don’t have to find some way to self-heal; you need only look to Jesus. Let Him do the healing, the cleansing, the forgiving. Come to Him, trust Him, and rest in Him.
““Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
Now that’s a firm foundation better than concrete.
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