It is the collapsed front of a former bar, next to my one son’s home in an urban neighborhood. It is an eyesore, made worse by the occasional tire and sneaker thrown into the mix. But today with the high contrast covering, it has an extra veneer of melancholy.
My son has been faithfully going to township meetings to get it removed. After many months of patient petitioning, monies have finally been found to clear the whole property. I stand in the cold, looking at the jumbled mess and wondering what this corner will be like once it has gone. What will replace it? It’s hard to imagine.
A house in ruins is a great visual metaphor for a life without God. No one can see a need for a savior until that brokenness becomes clear. But how wonderful it is that God has much more in mind than just shoring up the collapsed building. He wants to build something completely other. And what draws me over and over again to him is the vibrancy of what he has in mind.
My favorite quote from C.S. Lewis puts this beautifully:
We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.
The problem is with our imaginations. Our vision of what the Lord intends for us is too small. That’s why Jesus constantly speaks to our imaginations through analogies, helping us to get a picture of what “the kingdom of heaven” is like. Each parable is a view of the blueprint from a different angle.
My son is now endeavoring to get placed onto a development task force in his community. His faith compels him. And I think he’s got this right. Belonging to Jesus shouldn’t just mean recognizing the rubble.
It’s building something glorious.
Narrow is the mansion of my soul; enlarge it that thou mayest enter in. St. Augustine