Life as it is. Sunday's coming.
This time of year the stores fill up with plastic eggs, chocolate extravagance, and multicolored stuffed bunnies. I don't generally over think or over react to the secular variations of Christian holidays (goofy traditions can be fun) but for reasons other than my general revulsion to materialistic gluttony, I struggle to make room for it in my head. I can't reconcile fluffy overpriced bunnies with the enormity of a blood drenched cross where our murder of God accomplished His own plan to saves us.
Maybe the muddy snow outside my window puts a grimy damper on the whole daffodils and tulip Easter stereotype, but I think it's more than that.
I look around me and I see this aching and twisted world torn apart by suffering and sin, and all the plastic grass, and food coloring in the world can't hide it from sight.
Last week dear friends of ours received the phone call that every parent fears getting. Now they wait in a hospital room for their college age son to wake up from a coma. An athletic young man so full of life, faith, and love...now broken in a hospital bed. Life as they knew it changed in an instant. Proof, as if I needed any that Karma is a lie, and that the snake oil "prosperity gospel" salesmen who call themselves preachers are liars too. As if our words have the power to speak good fortune into existence. I am grateful that his family trusts deeply in the One who does breathe life, and who can heal the broken. Jesus is their sustenance, and the sovereignty of a good God their assurance.
This week we received a message from our second home, telling us that a child we know and dearly love has been sold by her own mother. A mother I had hoped would not try to sell her children again. A mother who was sold into marriage by her own mother at age 13. I struggle to comprehend the brokenness. Sold like a piece of property, bought by people who satisfy their own wickedness by stripping the soul of a young girl. Thankfully she has escaped with her baby daughter. Can the cycle end? My ache and rage coexist.
I feel a small taste of God's white hot wrath against sin that enslaves and crushes, as my heart breaks with His love for the sinner.
Daily my newsfeed and computer fills with the faces of orphans desperate to be seen, craving love. How can I not enter in? How can I refuse to look? Not seeing doesn't erase them from existence.
Can I claim Christ's mercy and yet refuse to pick up a cross?
Can I claim his grace yet refuse obedience?
The answer is one that I struggle with as the Spirit of God inside wages war on my doubt and selfishness.
I serve a God who came. He entered into our suffering and he bore it on his own bruised and bloodied shoulders. Broken and poured out for a ragged and rebellious world.
I have one assurance, one place of rest, and one all sufficient provision. Jesus lived the life I could never live, and died the death I deserved to die. He finished it. He bore it all. He drank the cup of that white hot wrath to the bitter dregs, and rose victorious over my sin and death.
In light of that kind of love and sacrifice, I've been pondering what it looks like to live in this time "in between". I have no idea how many years I will be given to me on this earth or what those days will look like. I don't want to take any of this time for granted and waste it on plastic and fluff. I want it to count. I want to invest every bit of what God has so graciously and generously given me.
I want to invest in things eternal and significant. The hard part for me is not being able to be in three places at once doing everything that pops into my heart. I don't have money, but I do have time, and gifts, and a calling. Surrendered is the word that has come into my mind a lot lately. Living a life that is available and willing. A constant re-aligning priorities and surrendering those dark corners.
Here's how that pondering fleshed out in real life last week.
After updating our home assessment, our family was put back on the social services call list as an emergency foster home. I'm actually a little surprised that we haven't received a call, but we live with a daily expectancy of the unknown disrupting our comfortable life. Who will this child be? How long will they be a part of our family? So many unknowns. A step into the dark..and then just waiting and trusting. Available and willing.
What I do know is there will be sacrifice involved and I'm not gonna lie...I have had a few whining chats with God about it for the past few weeks.
I'm not necessarily anxious or afraid at the moment, but I am aware and counting the cost. One cost that I cling to the most, which may seem petty, is sleep. Our youngest is four years old now so I have more trepidation over reinstating midnight feedings and sleep deprivation than I do anything else. The other is the inevitable unpredictability and loss involved. It's going to hurt, there is just no way around it but at the end of the day it's just not about me.
It's strange to feel so compelled, and yet so aware of the certain heart break that will ensue. My heart on the line again, willing to be used up, and poured out...but yet I know without a shadow of a doubt that ultimately someone is in control of it all, and that Sunday is coming.
I consider it a joy.
Resurrection Sunday reminds me that the I can go bravely into battle because the war has already been won. It will be made right. There will be justice, the broken will be made whole, truth will dispel the darkness, and every tear will be dried. We have a hope beyond mere human effort, and "good deeds". Any good thing I have to offer, anything good that you might see, is all God's grace at work. This is just me putting one clumsy foot in front of the other, clinging to His strength, certain of my own weakness.
Sunday is coming.
That is our hope. Jesus is alive, Jesus saves and Jesus makes all things new.
In the meantime, there's a race to be run.
Soli Deo Gloria,