2021 has arrived - a new year - feels sort of like getting out of prison eh? Free at last! This is something we as a global family have longed for with extra urgency and now it seems we have let out a collective sigh of relief. But, even so, are we really there yet?
Let's talk straight: 2020 stunk. It brought challenges and heartache most of us have not understood prior and fears and situations we previously had not been forced to think about. The past months have felt like being suspended in time; in the blurred space that sits between darkness and the dawn. We all had high hopes that once the calendar page turned we would snap awake from the bad dream; relieved and refreshed, done. But here we are, still sitting in the waiting room lobby wondering when life can actually go back to its pre-nightmare days. As a small movie theatre near my home, closed for almost a year now, says poignantly on its marquee - "The Intermission Continues..."
We are still stuck in our seats, watching a film that we never wanted to see and as with most bad movies, they seem to drag on way too long, making us jittery. But, we do know from history-past that all things do eventually come to an end, and this too (believe it or not) shall pass. We can take comfort in this; wrap it around our hearts like a warm blanket, soothing our ongoing ache and life-joints out of place.
Last year changed us. For better and worse. Some found the slowed pace a lovely reprieve, I know I did quite often. Having the long hours typically spent in traffic traded for time at home was like a surprising and unforeseen gift dropped on my doorstep. It took awhile to get used to though, honestly. Having a forced pause offered up free moments and rest that my body and mind needed desperately. The saddest part, as I reflect now, is I did not even know how depleted I was until I had no choice but to stop and refill the bucket.
I was really bad at looking inside my life, not wanting to examine those things I really should pluck up and remove, making room for the better and more worthy. This pause has made me (finally) bag up and take out much of the trash, keeping the good. The change in our daily patterns and habits always shakes us up - and often shakes out the unnecessary. This is a good and lovely thing.
Some of what occurred during last year's worldwide tip-over was of course, not lovely at all. Many of us now have our special person or some of our precious people no longer here, no longer walking around near us, in our shared space, breathing the same air. We now connect with these only through heart-soul whispers and thoughts flooded with memories. In a blink they were gone. We never thought to think this could happen and it presses life's walls in hard, crushing. So, saying "Happy New Year" is tricky and like walking on crumbling ground. For many, this new year only brings with it heartache's heavy luggage that is now carried and the remembrance of what is now glaringly missing. Or, its close relative, fearing of deep loss ahead.
What we must always do, regardless of the insanity of life down here, in the unfathomable and the uncertain is to stand on the solid ground of God's truth to get us through, to guide our way - held up as our Beacon of Hope in the maelstroms of life. In the shifting sands God's word is the time-tested bedrock of unshakeable ground. It is also the deep, rich soil that grows us anew.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"
(2 Corintihians 5:17)
This is an awesome truth friends! Christ makes us fully new creations - gone are the old rags, the tired habits, and and yes, even the deep cracks of heartbreak and deep loss. Because of Christ's cross-work and resurrection we can all rest assured that He lives and breathes in each of us, those still here and those passed on, new life, renewed land is ours for the taking - "Just believe" He implores.
Like the forest that is clear cut and the soil is emptied and torn and laid wide open for what is next, we are souls in the space between. The clearing is prepared for rebirth - for the miraculous fresh growth. New life, new beginnings and the metamorphosis through Christ alone. We sit now, in the great intermission. The longing for new, REALLY new. Our true home, our everlasting home of amazing hope:
'"God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. There shall be no more death. Neither shall there be any more sorrow nor crying nor pain, for the former things have passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making all things new.” Then He said to me, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”' (Rev. 21:4-5)
Doesn't this help to ease your weary spirit? Until we are in our eternal home we are all just souls-in-waiting. For those of you missing believers no longer here, lay down in this promise found in Revelation. Christ makes everything new. He can sew your broken heart back together when you sit with Him and allow the threading to occur, take in this breath of life. He can make the homeschooling mom's hard and frustrating moments new also, when she takes time to rest in His arms and soak in His peace and patience. He will take it all; the uncertainty, fear, irritations, tear-stained cheeks; all of it. We do not have to wait until Heaven for this extreme gift of restoration - He freely offers it - open-scar-handed, no payment from us required. Just say "Yes", all paid by Him.
If we do, the intermission may still feel long but it will be much more enjoyable, I am certain. Let us all rest in this. In the sitting with Him in the waiting room together, intertwined with the One that knows us intimately, loves us deeply and is making everything new. Just you wait.
Question: What is it that is making the waiting of this season hard for you, and, on the flip-side, what has this waiting room experience offered you that has been a lovely gift?