Father, sometimes it feels like I am army-crawling through life. Under barbwire, through the mud, dodging bullets and ducking enemy fire through the searing onslaught. Even when I see no way out, you have provided one. Show me the way through. Help me learn to trust you in life’s toughest places. Amen
This is the prayer I wrote weeks ago that God knew I would need to read today. As I begin again to write Chapter 3, entitled Broken, it is time to face this truth. We, his beloved children, are so very broken, but the Lord of Life has signed our hearts and our souls.
Let the cardiac surgery commence.
For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. So Newton says.
That’s not to say that whatever you do, they’ll do it back to you; or whatever you give, they’ll give it back to you. No, good doesn’t necessarily beget good, it does good in the do-er.
Some call it grace; some call it karma. I call it Newton’s 3rd Law. Whatever I do, it applies an equal and opposite force to me. My body’s doings obey the laws of motion, uniquely!
My doing changes me back.
My thinking causes me to think again.
My helping them, helps me.
My ironing for him, smooths me.
My cleaning for her, cleanses me.
My praying, for him, for her, for them,
how to pray, what to say,
what to silence,
when to go, when to stay.
Equal and opposite.
Whenever I give, I get back,
Equal and opposite.
It’s a law of nature.
For my every action, there’s a reaction,
When my girls were small, I had magical healing powers. I could kiss a scrape or bandage a cut and presto! It would be “all better.” They would smile and go back to playing. Today, these girls are young women, and I no longer have that power. They spend their days working hard in places far from home, and when they hurt they’re on their own. They’re old enough to know that kisses do not work long distance, only in person.
I’m grateful that my girls know that Christ can be such a person, thanks to Sunday school teachers, worship leaders, mentors and pastors. Thank goodness, because the world my kids navigate is very different from the one I grew up in. It’s different, even, than the one they knew as children. Today, it seems, there is more shouting and posturing, more blatant hatred and prejudice, and more evident disrespect for persons and planet on a global scale. Nearly everywhere there is rubble, covered in dust.
This is the world my children have inherited from me, and the world I receive today in news, navigation and neighborhood. So many dusty images flood my mind, of collapse and heartbreak, earthquake and explosion, fire and flood, with medics and rescue personnel searching desperately for survivors.
In Mexico City recently, the collapse of buildings brought rescue efforts to the scene of a school. Oh children, especially children — the weakest, youngest and most promising among us — bid us to pause… hoping, waiting, listening, praying.
How in the midst of all of our commotion can we hear a tiny cry, barely a breath? But when together we pause and a hush falls, we do hear it. Then suddenly there is furious digging, hand to hand and shoulder to shoulder, cobbling through earth and stone and rubble to reach the tiny one before it’s too late.
Shovelfuls of earth yield to hands which brush away dirt and debris as the small, still form is lifted to safety. Silence doesn’t dare hope. But suddenly, there are shouts: “The child is alive!” Oh, such cheering and joy must reach through tear-stained cheeks to the very ears of God. Out of the dust there is life.
Hope is there when brother acknowledges brother, father welcomes son, and foe becomes friend. When we all gather with one cause, one intention, and one mission, our hopes are realized. We do this for our children, for all children.
“Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.” (Isaiah 58:12)
The business of rebuilding the ancient foundations falls to us. We will be called repairer of broken walls, restorer of streets with dwellings. Dwellings where our children can raise their children, with loving care tendered to kiss scraped knees, and all children can play together.
Lord, thank you for the resilience and tenacity of children. Help us to love them well by providing sturdy support and a firm foundation on which they can build.