The family that I work for will be moving into a new home in just a few days. The house is a place they've lived in for about fifteen years. There has been vision, there has been planning and salvaging for parts and pieces and frustration and excitement and more planning. I don't see how the working mom and dad are doing it, frankly. I just show up and take care of the kids--but it is getting done.
After about four months of a steady stream of contractors, project managers, drywall installers, electricians, plumbers, tile-people, cabinet guy, it's all starting to come together. Yes, they are moving back home in a week...and from the outside, aside from the lawn being smashed by the constant traffic of work vans and trucks and a giant dumpster holding pieces of all the old walls, toilets, tile, etc. permanently parked in their driveway, it looks exactly the same. Standing in the front yard, it looks like absolutely nothing has change, the only difference from the outside is a bumped out back end of the house, which has added two bedrooms and a master bathroom.
I stepped inside the house yesterday for the first time since construction started.
Everyone had already gone home for the day and the lady of the house took me through each room--one by one. There were dust and plastic and paper--and kitchen appliances yet to be installed. The house was hushed, windows all open, just natural light flowing in and it was a little bit reverent--like, "This is the place that we've been hoping and dreaming and working toward for the last two years and this is my dream come true" kind of hushness. Beneath the paper and plastic and dust were promise and beauty and loveliness and the smell of new. This is the time of the excited and expectant mother getting the nursery ready, the crib made, clothing hung, painting and arranging are already complete for the arrival of this little life that's been under construction for the last nine months.
It is with this same beauty and hushness that God transforms our lives: he takes the planning and budgeting, the demolition and the sweat-it-out hard work and the sheer exhaustion of our efforts and does something quietly.
And while our outside doesn't look a whole lot different--sure we can make a few transformations with P90X madness and weight loss, bump out a few walls or whatever, but the bones are still there, the foundation is still there--our faith is what is still there when we are stripped and hollowed out. The reno process really, really hurts, the day in, day out of scraping and cutting is excruciating and tedious, but man, does He have a plan.
There will be a steady flow of friends, counselors, mentors, bible teachers who will see you under construction. They will sit there while you curse and cry and complain and they will pray for you and call you and offer sound advice. They will push you and be patient with you, and pray for you some more, they will buoy you up with words of encouragement.
And there is rebuilding and growth and newness beginning to sprout up inside. Simply put: beauty and hope and nothing short of God--a faithful God with these amazing blueprints: stuff he's been planning for us all along.
Psalm 46: 1-11--God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help here at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire. "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.