Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The House and Her Builder

The House and Her Builder . . . 
. . . a parable, of sorts, inspired by Luke 11:24-26

A quaint, old house sat lonely on the market for too long. Her doors were solemn, speechless. Her rooms shivered cold and vulnerable. She was “available” and scrubbed clean, yet throughly empty. And that is the merciless key to this story, because her quiet emptiness allowed the squatters to arrive in full force. They came not to make a home, not to beautify her walls nor to entangle joyful memories within her brick and mortar tapestry, but to simply exist, and with ill intent at that. And to selfishly devalue. And to destroy carelessly. The house was uninhabited and seemingly forgotten, so they took full advantage of her vacancy.

Then one day, the builder of the house, the man whose very hands had drawn the plans and nailed the nails, happened by the structure. And he bore witness to how things had gone so very wrong. He grieved the disarray of her scuffed shutters. He wept for the overgrown weeds and the straggly nature of the shrubberies around her hem. He inhaled the now pungent smell of what was once a carefully crafted clean slate -- she had been like a fresh page aching for pictures and words. And his heart quietly fell apart as he recalled his own vision for what this home would be, who she would become. But now it appeared, at least to the average observer, that she would be utterly lost.

So this man took action.

The builder bought the house that his hands had built. He paid handsomely. In full.

And he violently evicted those vile squatters.

Then the builder began the delicate process of suturing up the destruction those vagrants had wrought, beginning the painstaking work of covering each scar precisely, patiently. All the while, he lavishly filled the house to her brim with colorful paintings, with books housing stories that leapt from the page, with intricate foreign embroideries, with laughter and with love and with purpose. The house was at last secure, with no void, no place for intruders. She would be kept; she was full. Finally, there would be a strong someone to protect this precious property, this house the builder designed with care, for which he sweated and fretted and even bled.

The kind builder ransomed his creation from the destroyers to make it his own again. She had been the work of his hands, and so she was so precious to him, valuable beyond measure.

And this house, she became his home forever.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

A Good God and Matters of Trust

A smarter woman than I recently pointed out that betrayal is such a dark beast, in part, because it digs into and stains every memory of that relationship. It causes you to second guess your own faculties with regard to how and IF you trust.

In an attempt to avoid self-examination, I’ve been doing some medicating here lately with general life-busyness, a good bit of Netflix and copious amounts of Sonic raspberry sweet tea (like, way, WAY too much sweet tea).  I know that when that kind of thing starts going down, there must be some seriously ugly stuff that needs sorting through in my heart, so here goes.

See, tonight, I sat in a room full of maybe a hundred folks who purposely left their warm Sunday afternoon homes and drove, some for half an hour or more, through cold, wet interstates to gather for prayer, to ask for God to hear them, to hear US, and to answer. 

Leaders asked prayers for members who are about to trek across the frozen Siberian landscape to share the warmth of the Gospel with a people who don’t yet know their God loves them . . . So we prayed.

Husbands tearfully asked for their wives to be healed, for their children to be whole . . . So we prayed.

Elders requested God’s wisdom in big decisions that lie ahead for the sheep they so carefully seek to shepherd . . . So we prayed.

I’m new to this family of believers, and although I don’t know most of these people, they seem so kind, so in tune with the Spirit, so ready to be given for the Kingdom. The Bride is beautiful.

But then, in the middle of that beauty, a dark voice in the back of my mind:  
“But you know you can’t trust them.”

I’m so sick of that voice. It’s crippling. 

The last year has been really hard, that’s all.  It’s a tough pill to swallow when a safe, accepting, TRUST-worthy place suddenly turns dark and foreign and abrasively unwelcoming. I know, it happens sometimes, we fail one another. But it still hurts. And it slaughters the propensity to trust.

And yet TRUST is an absolute necessity among the Saints. Even if I’m stuck, my heart all plugged up. So I try to remember that God provides. God provides. God provides.

And yet the pain is so real, sometimes it speaks ugly, destructive words into a beautiful moment of opening.

What I am left with every time this wave sweeps over (besides a big pile of tissues and puffy eyes), what I am holding most tightly to tonight, is a promise, His promise that healing WILL come . . . eventually. And I do personally know this well, because many years ago, there was an abused, broken, skeptical young woman who went off to college and met a cute boy who loved God and could sing, and she learned to trust again. It felt like a miracle. It was. A good God does things like that for His people, for His purposes.

So, yes, I know it will come someday. Someday. But the meantime is just a profoundly sad time. I keep going back to this line in Andrew Peterson’s “The Rain Keeps Falling”:

“I’m dying to live, but I’m learning to wait.”

Learning to wait. Waiting to live again. Because He is faithful. Because eventually you must touch bottom and begin coming up. Because trust must be genuine and God-given. And because the beauty of His Bride is worth even the scars.