“You are working in our waiting
You’re sanctifying us
When beyond our understanding
You’re teaching us to trust”
I’ve learned I have a hard time living in the present tense.
The fact that “He is making all things new” and they aren’t already made new, while we long for them.
The journey, the slowness, the pain of being made new, when my heart is desperate for the quick, the immediate, the already accomplished.
You are working. You are sanctifying. You are teaching. And I’m begging to be done.
This week, I sat under the teaching of a RUF minister who shared, “If I were the writer of the grand narrative of Scripture, I would have brought in crucifixion, resurrection, and glorification, by like Genesis 4.” Yet, He didn’t. He took thousands of years to take us on our journey home.
I’m currently riding on what feels like an endless journey home. Our high school students from my Church attended a camp in Colorado and we took a bus. Our plan both in coming and going from Rome, GA to Estes Park, Colorado was to stop half way in Kansas to stay the night. Last night though, this didn’t quite go as planned.
We were sitting at dinner in a Mexican restaurant when a terrible storm came through. Upon, finishing eating and paying for our meals, we boarded the bus to head to our hotel for the night. Once we reached the hotel, we discovered the entire area had no power from the storm. In the background we heard tornado sirens.
Sitting on the bus, it was so dark we couldn’t even see the hotel next to us. The students were exhausted, ready to shower, and ready to use the bathroom, having boarded the bus at six that morning.
The hotel had no power so we got back on the bus to keep traveling. Soon, we reached a gas station. We went to the bathroom and tried to call hotels to see if we could find somewhere for our students to stay. As there is very little between Kansas City and Kentucky, there was little to nowhere to stay. Eventually, we decided to pull over at a gas station and continue to sleep on the bus, allowing our bus driver the required amount of time to rest before continuing to drive another full day. We rested and continued to drive.
Around 10:30 this morning we stopped for breakfast, all of us talking about how desperately we wanted to shower, to be in our beds, to be home. To be made new by rest, family, hospitality, and cleanliness. But as we were stopped and sharing, we were still a six hour drive from home.
Making is messy.
It means unraveling, needing, missing, losing sight, and having to remind yourself there is home and hope to come.
And I’ve taken a break from writing, a chosen fast really, because of “making” that needed to take place in my life. Hurts, cynicism, and bitterness that needed to be walked into. Reconciliation that needed to be sought.
And right in the middle of it, I took a night to make biscuits.
One of my favorite quotes from my Grammy is “Making biscuits is not for someone who minds getting their hands dirty.” and goodness is that so true. I mixed the batter with my hands, folding in the right ingredients. I spread flour all over my counter and dumped batter into lumps. I folded the lumps of batter in the flour until they resembled a ball and placed them on a pan to be baked. My hands, shirt, and honestly hair were covered in flour and dough, but those biscuits were delicious.
As I was walking through the process thinking how messy it was, I started to wonder if I was doing it right, but remembered countless times watching my Grammy or my Dad make biscuits, knowing this messiness, as wrong as it felt was right. It was what making biscuits took.
I don’t think I take enough time to recognize the weight of what it means that Jesus took on flesh to be in the “making” with us. That He “didn’t consider equality something to be grasped”.
This week, that same pastor shared a story of a lady who was running in the Boston Marathon when the bombing took place. She was running and when the bombs exploded, some scrap metal flew into her legs. She immediately fell to the ground, hysterically crying. Many tried to console or help her but she was inconsolably in pain, crying out for help that no one around her could provide.
A man walked up who had served in Iraq who also had wounds from scrap metal. He walked up, showed her his side, and said something to her and her screaming quieted.
Her pain didn’t go away. But He got it. He knew the pain too.
I think if I were God, I would do everything in the world to keep my kids out of the “making” process. I would just want them to be born, made totally new. Which was His plan. But even as we ruined it, as we thought we could figure out how to care for ourselves better than Him, He didn’t abandon us.
He entered the making. He was brought low, felt pain, grief, hunger, betrayal, temptation, and His journey home felt never ending. When He was in the Garden crying, “Lord, take this cup from me.” He knew his journey home still had many trials to come. But He was wounded in the making to be with us in it.
And as He is making, refining, sanctifying, and reminding me of my emptiness, I’m reminding myself that He is wounded too. That as I am crying out hysterically to be done, to be out of pain, that He continues to reveal His wounds. His wounds that bring me grace I can never deserve. And as the journey home continues to be endless, I press on knowing that the making He is doing in “preparing a place for me” is better than I could ever ask or imagine.