Bekah's Heart, Devotional, Just Write

Planning Peace

“… Joy fills hearts that are planning peace.”

Proverbs 12:20b

What might it look like to plan for peace this week?
Peace in relationships?
Peace at work?
Peace in your mind or heart or soul?
Peace in your home?

Is it something practical like planning ahead for dinner on a busy night to decrease stress or anxiety when that busy moment comes?

Is it crafting in little 5 minute moments (or 1 minute even) where you can just stop and connect with Jesus, notice how you’re feeling, and invite him in to whatever activity is taking place?

Is it choosing words carefully with your family member/friend/teammate in order to add peace instead of anxiety or conflict to a situation?

As I ponder what “planning peace” may look like (and why that brings joy) I’m struck by all the things that are the opposite of peace. There are many antonyms. It could be strife or discord in community. It’s a restlessness in our souls. Distress in our mind. Anxiousness in our emotions. It could even me a messy or loud house that feels in-peaceful.

While in one way that seems overwhelming to think of all the ways we can experience the opposite of peace, it also gives us many areas, big and small where we can start planning for it.

For me this morning, that planning starts as simple as believing peace may be possible this week. To trust that the Prince of Peace is on His throne and on the scene in my life. To hope that peace might settle in a little more into my soul, into relationships, into my work and my play… and that as it does, it might bring with it a little joy.

Advent, Devotional

An Adopted Savior

Jesus was adopted.

It struck me in a new way today as I read through the genealogy in Matthew 1. The ancestry of our Savior was tracked through Jospeh. Mary is of course mentioned but it is Joseph’s family tree through which history ties Jesus back to King David back to Abraham.

It was Jospeh who named the child (at the prompting of an angel). It was Joseph who wandered to Bethlehem to register his family for the census and likely listed his family of three. Eight days later, Joseph was present as he presented Jesus in the temple, fulfilling the laws of circumcision, purification, and dedication. It was Joseph who listened again to the angel and led his family, including his adopted son, away from danger, becoming a refugee in the process. It was Jospeh who did this yet again a while before settling his family in Nazareth. It was Joseph who led his family in their faith, witnessed through little snapshots of their faithfulness including the annual trip to Jerusalem for Passover.

Scripture paints beautiful pictures of Mary’s deep love for her son all throughout his life, but today the deep love of Joseph, Jesus’ adoptive dad, is captivating.

What a faithful father.

He leads.

He protects.

He claims him as his own.

What a beautiful reflection of our Heavenly Father as well. One who doesn’t have to love us, but chooses to. One who claims us and leads us. One who protects and provides.

I can’t imagine how challenging it was at times to be “dad” to the Savior of the world. I’m grateful though today for Joseph’s example of faith and trust in our Faithful Father.

“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him “Abba, Father.” For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm we are God’s children.” Romans 8:15-16

Bekah's Heart, Devotional, names of God

Certain Uncertainties

“And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? Psalm 39:7a

“Where do we go from here?”
This concept is not foreign to any of us living through 2020.

As plans change by the hour and uncertainty feels like the only certainty, our hearts are left wondering “what now?”

Yet, when all our hopes and expectations are dashed, Jesus steps in as Hope himself.

Where do we go? Well, if nothing else we’ve figured out where not to go. Verse 6 lays out some of that:
“We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it.”

Our hope is not in productivity or money. Nor is it in political leaders or a health care system. If our ultimate hope is in our plans or our people, even then we will often be left disillusioned, distracted, and disappointed.

And so…

And so, Lord, where do we go?

Where CAN we put our hope?

Our only hope is You. (Psalm 39:7b, 71:5)

And so…

“And so we have this hope as a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus, [our anchor of hope] has already gone in there for us.” Hebrews 6:18b-20a

“And this is the secret: Christ lives in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27

a weary world..., Bekah's Heart, Devotional

“deute!”

deute
This was the call I heard as I laid awake at 3:45 am one Friday morning at some point in the early days of the pandemic. No, I don’t know Greek, but I stumbled upon this word that is often translated as “come” or “come now” as I was poking around in Matthew 11. I found myself processing what it looked liked to live these words in the middle of pandemic, in the middle of some of the hardest most stressful days of my job, in the middle of exhaustion and loneliness:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
There it was right at the very beginning.
Duete. Come.
With sleep clearly not happening that very early morning, I got up and “came” not really sure where God was calling me to. As I searched more about this word, I discovered Jesus used this call quite often throughout His days on earth. In the verses above and in Mark 6 we see this as a call to come away and rest, but that’s not the only “come”.
In Matthew 4 and Mark 1, “duete” is the “follow me” used by Jesus to call His disciples into ministry.
Matthew 25 documents the parable of the sheep and the goats. The goats are told to “depart from” him, sent away to eternal punishment. The sheep though? “duete” … come … inherit the Kingdom.
After the resurrection, the disciples are out on a boat fishing and they hear a voice call out, “Come and have breakfast” and suddenly, maybe because of the repeated use of this word, they know it is the Lord. “duete”
How beautiful to see all the ways Jesus used this word. Jesus didn’t just call his disciples to the hard work before them of ministry. He also called them into rest, into meals, into His Kingdom. Each aspect of those callings just as important as the other.
In this weary, worn season that never seems to end, what could our life look like if each day we woke up and listened for Jesus’ “duete” call. Maybe today that call looks more like caring for yourself, getting away and being restored. Or perhaps he’s asking you to walk into challenging situations. Maybe he just wants to sit down and have breakfast with you. No matter what, the call is clear… “Come. Be near me. Do this with me. See what I have in store for today.”
Jesus isn’t the only one who uses this word in scripture though. Others often use it when pointing to Jesus.
The Samaritan woman invites her whole community to “Come and see a man who told me all that I ever did!” “duete”
And the angels at the empty tomb… “Come and see the place where he lay.” “duete”
In these two instances it didn’t stop with “come”. The come was followed with “then go”:
Come and see.
Come and rest.
Come and have breakfast.
Come!
Then go!
Go and tell!
Go and teach!
Go and share!
Go and echo Jesus’ call …
“duete”.

Sea of Galilee, where Jesus invited the disciples to come and hv
Sea of Galilee (Where Jesus invited the disciples to come and have breakfast.)

Devotional, Lent

Angels, Stand Down

Angels are one of those topics that people seem to either be really fascinated by or generally stay away from. These warrior messengers of God may be hard for us to wrap our human minds around, but their presence throughout Scripture is undeniable.

Around Christmas this year a teammate and I ended up in a conversation centered around the angels present in the narratives of Jesus’ life. Many of us know about the angel that announced Jesus’ birth to his mother Mary, explaining how she, a virgin, would conceive the Messiah. Then there’s the angel that appeared to Joseph saying, “It’s okay, go ahead and marry Mary.”

Here’s were a theme of protection by the angels starts. Biology and all of history up to this point in time was working against Joseph believing Mary’s story. According to Old Testament laws, Mary could have even been stoned to death for her presumed act of adultery, no care given to the child inside her. While Joseph was already trying to figure out a way to avoid that, the angel that appeared to him sealed the deal, confirming he should go forward with the wedding.

Angels appeared again on the night Jesus was born, announcing the good news to Shepherds nearby.

A while later, after the wise men arrived, God sent an angel to Joseph, warning him that Jesus’ life was in danger. A messenger appeared again when the coast was clear to return.

Even here, at the beginning of Jesus’ life, angels were on the seen fighting for and protecting God made flesh, Immanuel. This fully God yet fully man being had a great purpose in the world, and He had a whole army of God working to make sure He could carry it out.  Matthew even records a group of angels ministering to Jesus after His temptation by Satan in the wilderness and one appeared again in the garden the night before Jesus’ death.

But a few hours later, as Jesus’ hung on the cross, the presence of this warrior army was not to be found. All throughout Jesus’ life they were on call to provide and protect, but in this moment of greatest need, not one could be found. Matthew’s Gospel gives us a glimpse behind the curtain of the spiritual realm to see why. As one of Jesus’ disciples attempted to use physical earthly war to fight of those seeking to arrest Him, Jesus replied,

“Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think that I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:52-53)

They actually were there, on call, watching the whole thing happen. During the time of Christ, a roman legion was 6,000 soldiers. If this was the measurement Jesus was referring to, then more than 72,000 angels were there, ready to jump in at any moment, should the Father say the word. But instead of “attack” or “protect” or “get him out of this sticky situation,” it seems the Father was saying,

“Angels, stand down.”

The next verse in Matthew’s narrative reminds us why Jesus didn’t call out to his Daddy to send out the troops:

“But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now.”

72,000 angels ready to save one.

One God-man willing to suffer to save all of us humans.

It’s mindblowing really. Yet, it’s true. We can only imagine the agony of the Father not sending 12 legions and even more to save his dear Son. But that just goes to show how precious we, His sons and daughters, really are to Him.

The angels didn’t show up. The Son was beaten, murdered, and placed in a tomb.

That’s the reality of this day, this “Good” Friday we “celebrate” each year.


Thankfully, though, the angels’ work wasn’t actually done:

“Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. … Then the angel spoke to the women. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ … “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.” (Matthew 28:1-6)

While only one showed up on the scene, I bet they all were rejoicing! Forty days later, Jesus took his rightful place on the throne in heaven surrounded by the legions of angels. No longer were these warrior messengers being told to “stand down” and hold back. Instead, they gather, with all the saints, bowing down, praising Him for that moment on the cross, worshiping Him forever.

“I looked again and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus: ‘Worthy is the lamb who was slaughtered—to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.’ And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.’” (Revelation 5:11-13)

Oh, how I long to join that song.
Oh, how I long for that day.

cross

Devotional, Just Write, Uncategorized

Enough Trouble for Today

One of my favorite passages to come back to in busy seasons is Matthew 6:25-34. The whole section is about how we don’t need to worry and be anxious in life because God knows our needs and cares for us. It ends with this verse:

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34)

In another translation that last sentence says: “Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

This is one of the phrases God brings to mind in seasons of my life when my to-do list seems overwhelming or I’m worrying too much about things in the future instead of what’s right in front of me. In those times, one of my favorite things to do is to take a piece of paper and write that verse at the top of it. Then, I draw a line down the middle and on the left column I write “Today”. The right column is then titled, “Not Today.” I start sorting out all the things I need to do in one category or the other. Having a space for the “Not Today” items helps me feel peace that I won’t forget them, while giving space to focus on the “Today” items.

This idea of not borrowing trouble from tomorrow is nothing new to me. However, God recently brought this passage to mind… but in reverse. Not only should we resist borrowing trouble from tomorrow… but we also should work to not ADD trouble to tomorrow as well. He challenged me to deal with today’s troubles in order to set myself up for success when tomorrow becomes today.

Troubles delayed = troubles multiplied.

Here’s an example: A few weeks ago I made a large meal for some people that involved using a roaster, three crock-pots, and other various dishes and bowls. When I got them all home, washing all of those dishes was the LAST possible way I wanted to spend my Friday evening. However, if I would have left those crockpots and roaster and serving utensils until Saturday, everything would have gotten hard and more difficult to clean. To keep the example going, left even longer, those dishes might have started to smell or even get moldy. What was an annoying but small “trouble” on Friday would have become a much bigger “trouble” days later.

And I’m not just talking about dishes.

If I leave that conflict with a coworker unresolved and keep putting off the tough conversation that needs to happen, bitterness makes me hard and resentment starts to grow like mold.

If I experience a stressful season in life or a traumatic situation but choose to ignore how it’s impacting me instead of walking through the hard, I “steal” from a future “tomorrow” and add to its troubles. That stress will eventually come back to the surface, my body will eventually revolt and I’ll be forced to deal with it along with whatever troubles that day already had going for it.

If I don’t face the sin in my life today and ruthlessly cut it out, seeking God’s grace and forgiveness, it will grow deeper in my soul deceiving me and hurting the people around me.

Don’t borrow from tomorrow’s trouble with worry and anxiety. But also don’t add to tomorrows trouble by ignoring what you need to take care of right now. Whether it be dishes or disease, laundry or loss, sorting socks or suffocating sin, we need to deal with today’s troubles.

“Sufficient for the day it its own troubles”

and sufficient is our God to help us deal with them… TODAY. 

today

Bekah's Heart, names of God

Lifter of My Head

“But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.”
Psalm 3:3

“I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people. … I broke the yoke of slavery from your neck so you can walk with your heads held high.” Leviticus 26:12-13

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

Look up, my daughter.
There’s so much to see.

Those downcast eyes.
That downcast mind.
Your downcast soul.

Look up to the mountains.
Look up and see the snow falling softly.
Look up to notice: I am near.

Break free from the chains, the slavery, the fear.
Break out of the darkness, O Child of Light.

I am your God, your help, your shield.
I never falter, never fail, never forget.

I am the Lifter of Your Head.

So look up.

Be amazed.
Be held.
Be the beautiful woman I’ve made you to be.

A woman with her
head
held
high.

Bekah's Heart, Devotional

Redefining Productivity

On Tuesday I got to have dinner with a dear friend. We always love any time we can get together; this time felt extra special as she prepares to move to another city soon. As we cooked together, ate our meal, and then grabbed some blankets and headed toward the living room, life poured out of both of us. We shared updates on what’s going on in our worlds but also processed some things out loud for the first time, discovering more about ourselves along the way.

As the evening came to a close we decided to spend some time in prayer with each other. One of the things this friend prayed for me has lingered with me since. She asked God to open my eyes to a new way of looking at productivity… that when He is calling me to do good work while at my job or home, I would be productive in that, but that sitting on the couch and doing nothing while my body heals might also feel like productivity. She prayed that when He calls me to the traditional concepts we think of with productivity that He would provide the energy, but then kept coming back to examples we would normally label “unproductive”.

The awesome part is that even as she prayed, God began redefining this word and concept for me. It struck me in that moment that the word “productive” has as its root the word “produce”. Even with this in mind, I might default to asking “Jesus what do you want me to do, or ‘produce’, in this day that can bring you glory?”

However, on that night, Jesus flipped the question. My prayer suddenly became, “Jesus what do You want to produce in me?”

Productivity isn’t bad, but I’m learning that God cares more about the fruit He’s producing in my life than the efforts of my labor. And our Master Gardner can bring fruit out of any situation. Perhaps productivity, in this season of rest and healing, looks less like getting things checked off the to-do list and more like producing peace in my heart. Maybe He’s less concerned about the fruit of my ministry and longs to produce more patience and dependence on Him.

A while back I shared a passage from Jeremiah as a defining scripture for this current season of life. As my friend prayed the other night it came suddenly to mind again:

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 (emphasis added)

Trees don’t have to “work hard” to produce fruit. The fruit comes because that’s what they were created to do.

An apple tree doesn’t stress and toil over how to make the apples come. No, if it’s rooted in the soil, receiving the nutrients it needs, protected from elements or creatures that may try to ruin it, it just produces fruit. Related, an apple tree will never succeed at producing oranges; it’s just not designed for that.

Productivity does not come from the work I put in. Instead, it comes from where I’m rooted.

I know that my life as a human is not meant to be literally as passive as that of a tree. All the way back in Genesis, before sin entered the world, we were designed for work. However, I must keep in mind that whenever the work feels forced or pressured, it might not be the kind of productivity God desires. It won’t always be easy (and often it will be hard), but if it’s not coming from my identity in Christ and and purpose God has on my life, it’s likely that I’m trying to produce oranges as an apple tree. (And that just leaves everyone with unmet expectations and a bunch of wasted effort.)

Also, this verse doesn’t say that there won’t be things threatening that production. The heat and drought come. However, rooted near the river of living water, trusting, and letting my roots draw nourishment from this never-ending stream means that whether I’m “at the top of my game” or “laying on the couch” (as my friend prayed), production never stops. The fruit keeps coming because it was never up to me in the first place. Jesus said it this way:

“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. … Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. … When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.” John 15:1-9

Jesus, produce Your fruit deep in my soul. Keep me rooted near the river. Amen.

66 in 52 Challenge, Bekah's Heart, Devotional

Poured Out – A Reflection on Mark

As I get back into normal routines this fall that were obliterated during the summer, blogging is one thing I hope I can create space for in my schedule. As I sat down to “get back in it” I found myself skimming through various drafts of blog posts that never made it to the ‘publish’ stage. Some were so incomplete I couldn’t even figure out where I was trying to go, but one really struck me. It caught my attention because the lessons I was wrestling with years ago when the draft was created, are things I find myself continuing to wrestle with now. It also talked about a scripture in Mark which we’re studying this week for the 66 in 52 Challenge.

For the sake of keeping the flow of the words, I left the timing in the rest of the piece as it was originally, so just know that “this morning” or “last week” actually refers to some time in my life a few years ago, but I pray the lessons remain relevant for us now.


Do you ever have those days or seasons when God is clearly trying to tell you something?  For example, a few weeks ago John chapter 17 was the topic of conversation or study in 5 completely different settings over the course of only 6 days.  I think God was trying to tell me something.

More recently the lessons came in Isaiah 58.  Specifically verse 10 popped up in two places one morning before 6:30 a.m.  I think God wanted to set the tone for the day.   Here’s the passage:

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free,  and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?  Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. 11 And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. 12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.

Pour yourself out.

Other versions translate it as “spend yourself”, “extend your soul”, “give yourself to”.  No matter how you look at it, the message is clear: there is sacrifice and there is a stretching involved.

Something I’ve struggled with for a really long time is the balance between giving sacrificially of myself to serve others and caring for myself.  We all know (whether we act like it or not) that self-care is important, but it can also feel very selfish.  Satan gets us all kinds of confused when we start to figure out how to make a decision in this area.  If we feel the pull towards “spending ourselves” on behalf of someone in response to God’s call, he works hard to tell us that we deserve a break… that we need to think about ourselves more.  And in moments when self-care is exactly what we need to better be equipped to “extend our souls” when the necessary times come, he makes us believe we’re worthless and dumb for not being a “good Christian” who would help anyone.

While this is something I think I will likely continue to wrestle with the rest of my life, a little hint of clarity came through a session at the conference I was at last week.  To summarize, the presenter talked about both selfishness and selflessness.  When those are the only options, it seems the only “good” option to choose is selflessness; who wants to be know as being selfish?!?  However, she presented another option: self-interest.  Here are some of the ways she described these options:

  • Selfishness denies others.  Selflessness denies self.  Self-interest looks at myself in relationship to others.
  • Selflessness and selfishness both creates victims (like what I was explaining above in the temptations of Satan).  However, self-interest takes into consideration both myself and others and builds leaders.
  • Selfishness leaves no room for you. Selflessness leaves no room for me. Self-interest looks at we.

She explained that the word self-interest comes from the Latin words “inter” and “esse” which means “to be among”.  Basically self-interest could also be communicated as “self-among-others”.

Even Jesus wasn’t 100% selfless, at least not in our limited definition. Rather, He had a very clear purpose and self-interest.  There were times when people wanted Him to stick around and teach more or heal more or do more for them.  In our limited view, a “selfless” person would have given in and done what they wanted.  But He saw the bigger picture; He saw the other people that needed to hear of His love. He saw even at times His own need to get away and be alone with His Father.

This concept of self-interest doesn’t solve all my struggles with trying to balance “pouring myself out” (Isaiah 58) with “come away and rest” (Mark 6), but it comes a little closer.  I don’t deny self or others, but rather process each situation with God looking at the fact that I am constantly among others. God created me, and everyone, with the desire and need to be in relationship.  We need each other!  God also has a clear vision on our lives and as we seek to live our lives neither entirely focused on self nor on others, that path becomes a bit more clear.

One last story that seems to tie this all together. In Mark’s version of the feeding of the 5,000 we see some important context we don’t necessarily get in the other tellings. John the Baptist (Jesus’ relative) had just died. Jesus and the disciples were so overworked they hadn’t even had time to eat. He was leading them to what He thought was a secluded place so they could rest a while. They all knew some time away was needed, yet, when they arrived, a mass of people had ran ahead to meet them there. Tired, hungry, and grieving, this would have been the perfect space where we’d expect anyone to be a little more “selfish” and pull away. However, Mark describes Jesus’ counterintuitive response:

“Jesus saw the huge crowd as He stepped from the boat, and He had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.” (Mark 6:34).

He responded with compassion.

As the story continues the disciples tell Jesus the people are hungry and they end up feeding 5,000 people with only five loaves of bread and two fish. While it doesn’t tell us for sure, when it says “they all ate as much as they wanted”, my guess is that the disciples and Jesus were included in the “all”. Sometimes God works this way too… He feeds us or gives us rest right in the middle of our being poured out. The disciples are so busy they don’t even have time to eat, and right in the middle of their work God feeds them. What a clear picture of  this concept of self-interest… “self among others”.

Also, just to note, after all of that was over, Jesus did sneak away and went up into the hills by himself to pray. We need both times but there might not always be a clear rule to follow when deciding which which. May we never stop wrestling, never stop being poured out, never stop drawing near and letting God speak into our lives! He’ll lead the way!

drinking-glass-1838387_960_720

Bekah's Heart, Devotional

CONSTRUCTION ZONE!!!

So there’s a common joke around here about how Buffalo only has two seasons: Winter … and Construction.

It feels especially true this year. Everywhere I turn another road is closed, a bridge is being worked on, or it goes down to one lane. It’s constantly changing in some spots and in others it’s just constantly closed. A few weeks ago my mom was visiting and we were trying to go to the library and to fill the car with gas. The two locations are each less than a mile from my house and yet it took us over an hour to run those two errands because of so many road closures.

You know those signs that say the road is closed except for local traffic? I have to drive past at least one every day just to get home. I’m the “local traffic” living inside the construction zone.

Lately, that feels true on more than one level.

As I stumbled upon even another road closure the other day I found myself pondering this even more. It’s not just life right now that feels like a construction zone… it’s some what of a constant state we’re in our whole lives.

Just because the potholes are fixed and the streets get repaved today doesn’t keep new cracks from popping up when a new winter of freezing, thawing, salt, and plowing comes through. Next summer the orange cones will be up again. Just because we find healing or restoration in our lives today doesn’t mean hard things won’t come and break us open again.

Another interesting thing is that the streets around my house were actually in pretty good shape. No, it wasn’t the roads that have caused me to live in a construction zone for over a month already. Rather, the giant sewer system that was underneath the road was in major need of repair. In order to fix it they had to tear up the entire main intersection closest to my house (and will eventually work their way down the road) in order to get at the issue underneath.

This too mimics life. Sometimes life actually is pretty good on the surface. However, I’ve found lately in my own life, that when I’m in a healthy and good place, God knows I’m able to let Him do the good hard work of digging up some of the things underneath that could use another layer of healing. It feels so wrong to dig up a perfectly good road/life when it seems it’s all going fine, but He knows that dealing with the problems underneath will actually make for a smoother ride.

What type of construction zone are you in right now? Where is God building, filling in holes, repaving, or perhaps tearing things up in your life? Where could you use some repair work?

As you ponder that, ponder this promise too: One day the construction will finally all be over, but God won’t stop until it’s time!

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6)