What if redemption trickles in? What if the waterfall started at the cross, cascaded through the resurrection, and now our own stories are rivers and streams of God’s healing power?
The imagery is helpful to me as I see and hear the outcries for redemption across a variety of friend groups. Whether it’s a body that needs healing, a heart that doesn’t know warmth anymore, or a relationship that just keeps on hurting, I see redemption leaking out. Perhaps this is a hard image to bear because the tomb is empty right? I mean, Christ did conquer over death and He is reigning? So why is the idea of redemption seem…well, naive?
Because we’re small.
We’re small and we are linear creatures. We had a beginning and we will return to dust. We were formed; we are not the Former. So, when our senses go on overload with pain, and when our ears can’t hear another word of brokenness, we rush to think: God is not redeeming.
But it’s in these dry crevices where green life is known as a “sick joke”, that a single stem of life scurries up from the ground and looks so green. Yes, I see it in the sweet, sweet, poetry coming from a family friend whose body is riddled with the effects of the fall. She offers a few words, a few stems, she shows just a little green when everything is so brown, and oh I know Christ is weeping too. He’s weeping with joy and anguish as a daughter offers faith. Faith that goes against all odds. Faith that says, “Even if I don’t get better, I will praise my Creator.” Faith that stops people, like me tonight, and gets people talking.
Oh, people see the green stem in the valley of dust. They stop and say things like, “That shouldn’t be growing here?”, “How is there life left?” “How is her faith left?”. I don’t pretend to understand and I certainly don’t mean to deal with suffering in a trite fashion. I write with tears and my heart is frequently in turmoil over this “now but not yet” redemption we live in.
Yet, isn’t this our role? Isn’t this what it means to be instruments of grace in a overly barren land? Aren’t we made to be vessels pointing the way to life? And yes, I wish we could point with all strong hands and healthy bodies. And yes, I wish that I understood pain the way Jesus does.
But no, I don’t think these green stems are for naught. No, I think these green stems are signs of a good God that loves us enough to use us. He loves us enough to make us vessels of grace. I have so much to say to you who hurt and who wonder if redemption is but a myth. Yet, I have so little to say too. I just know that God count faith as righteousness. I know Hebrews 11 is riddled with the effects of faith in a God that is better than we can imagine and wiser than we can fathom.
And I know this: that green in you, that spark of faith that holds to Christ’s broad shoulders, this is God in you.
And I also know this: tears can be sacred and yours are not without great plan.
So this is for the streams, the inlets and the brooks.
We know that love is this: while we were still sinners Christ laid down for us.
He doesn’t consider Himself to great to lay down and tonight I hope you know that He is with you.