Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon you.
Do you sometimes nearly despair of life and these wicked times, think it all ought to be different? Remember that you are not in charge. It is a creation by our loving and all-powerful Maker, so everything has its sense, even today’s suffering, not because our Creator enjoys it, but because it is necessary for us to become what we are meant to be. Lift up your gaze, downtrodden slave of the system. It’s temporary. Yes it’s messy, and awkward, and not what it should be. No you’re not okay. Not perfected, still searching, still struggling, still dependent. The biggest lie is that this is the final state.
A little soul-searching exercise: in your not-okay-ness, would you consider yourself more of a prisoner, a wreck, or a construction site? Or something else?
- prisoner: caught in schemes bigger than yourself, a victim of unfavorable circumstances, perceived not to be in charge of your fate. This is the “innocent prisoner” type; besides this you could also discern a guilty prisoner: victim to a self-created / self-inflicted mess. However, this is quite similar to the “wreck” described next:
- a wreck: yes there are talents and there was a purpose or at least stabs into meaningful pursuits, yet they faltered and you went astray and now you are working on getting back on track and moving again.
- a construction site: work going on and nothing going perfectly, but all more or less as it should be, and with the right management, snags will be addressed timely and openly; even with inferior management, things will eventually get sorted.
All these perceptions have their justifications and dangers, but the construction site is arguably the best overall. It is multilayered – you can feel like several of these at the same time.
Maybe you appear balanced and calm but inwardly you’re screaming – i certainly do, often. Maybe you appear bubbly and teeming but inside, hollow like a zombie. Whether or not there is something is deeply wrong in your life, and you need help, this one thought may still help: disorientation and dizziness can be normal on a construction site. Maybe there’re no rooms yet, no windows, no railings downward from high storeys.
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Do you believe that you are supposed to be a temple, not a shed? Do you believe that what’s missing between you becoming a palace or remaining a shed is your faith in your Creator’s calling? So let your Creator build, who formed you in the womb and built you thus far. Stand firm, as far as you have been built – Ex 14:13, 2 Chr 20:17, Ps 46:10. I’m just reading Maccabees, the apocryphal books. Though not canonical, very noteworthy, with plenty of heavy relying on the Lord for deliverance in fierce battles. Just one example, 2 Mac 11:6-10. Believe that you are not alone, that you matter, because you are believing, not because you are able to fight and fearless, but because you become ready to fight and fearless because your Creator is with you and guides and supports you and wants you to go your way through life with an awareness of this, so take courage.
Maybe what feels like a prison cell may turn out to be just the basement of your construction site, where it’s dark and murky, as dirt gets washed down and water stagnates. But it can change to a watertight, clean and lit plant room accommodating functioning machinery. What you may perceive as wreckage may just be a hiccup in the construction process, a necessary change of plans, adaptation to changing circumstances.
The goal could be to remain in “construction site” mode as much as possible, as this allows the perspective of development and potential, towards fulfilling a purpose, beautifully designed, functional or humble, but at least intended by an intelligent designer.
In prisoner or wreck mode, your gaze will be backward – what could have been, had i not ended up in this place, what went wrong. Construction site mode turns the gaze forward and upward.
Prisoners and wrecks tend not to fight: there’s nothing to fight for if all is already lost. Conversely, there’s everything to fight for, valiantly, if all is open still.
By Wojciech Stattler - Od starożytności do współczesności - Malarstwo i rzeźba, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN S.A., Warszawa 2006, fot. S.Stachowski, Archiwum Ilustracji WN PWN SA
WARNING: Painting was mirrored in PWN publication, confirmed by National Museum in Kraków worker by phone. A.J. 10:52, 22 December 2006 (UTC), Public Domain, Link