I step outside, onto the wet grass, and look around the yard. I’m shocked to see how much damage the storm did.
Nothing huge–thank you, Jesus! The trampoline’s standing, and there’s no trees down.
But the plants are in tatters.
The ferns were so pretty this year; so tall, so green.
Now they hang in droopy shreds of frond.
Still, I can’t help but feel that the air is clear and warm, and there’s a picturesque beauty about the yard still. There’s a promise hanging in the storm-washed air. It’s Spring–things might still grow back.
I plop down on the wooden bench and open my Bible, trying to stay focused on the small words, and not the nature around me, shiny with rain-drops.
I look down, and there on the ground, amidst the battered flowers, is a tiny egg-shell. A bright blue robin egg.
I find myself whispering, Oh God, don’t let it have blown out of a nest in the storm!
I catch myself–does it matter that much?
Suddenly, a Bible verse comes to mind, and a thousand songs with it.
A sparrow cannot fall without notice. . .
I begin to think. What does that really mean?
He never promised that the sparrow wouldn’t fall.
He says when it does, he sees. He cares.
Jesus never promised us that He would keep the storms away. He promised to weather them with us.
He doesn’t say He’ll keep us safe–He says that no matter what, He’ll be with us.
He came to earth, was born in human form, as a helpless baby. He lived in our world, felt our hurt. He experienced human hunger. Human pain. He experienced every thing we must experience–and things none of us need ever experience now, because of His sacrifice.
As Christians, that is our job. To come to the pain.
Establishing God’s Kingdom does not mean eliminating pain. It means bringing Jesus to the pain.
Our job is not to hunker down and wait expectantly until Jesus returns. To lock ourselves inside and close the shutters.
Our job is to run to the pain and suffering. To step out, into the aftermath of the storm.
And bring Jesus there.
In the second The Hobbit movie, The Desolation of Smaug, the Elvish king hears threats of war and devastation from a goblin he captures. He tells his son, Legolas, to order the closing of the gates to his underground kingdom. Hearing that his friend, Tauriel, went out to track the rest of the goblins, Legolas goes in search of her in the forest.
Finding her, he tries to convince her to come back before the gates are closed. Tauriel refuses to leave the goblins to kill and destroy through the other lands.
“It’s not our fight,” Legolas tells her.
“It is our fight,” she answers. “Are we not part of this world?”
We are a part of God’s Kingdom.
We are not to close up the gates and hide until the storm blows over.
We are to engage the world He made–and loves enough to die for.
We are a part of this world. It is our fight. It is our problem.
We cannot close our eyes to the war and pain and storms. We must open them, and feel the sting of the falling raindrops.
We are called into the storm, and that is where Jesus is. Is it not better to walk through the storms with Jesus by our side, than to hide from them–in temporary safety, but all alone? We are not to fear what can harm the body, but what can harm the soul.
Do not be afraid, little children, you are worth more than many sparrows.