I had a coffee in town with a friend this morning. And while I always notice it, it hit me the extent to which the city is under construction. All of the construction makes life more difficult for people who live and work here. Inconvenient is probably a better word.
As I was noticing all of this, I thought of the times when like Dublin, our lives are under construction. Parts are being torn down, so that something new can be built. Normal routes and patterns that are closed off and ‘rerouted’. Old stuff being knocked down; new stuff brought in. Facades that had served us well smashed to bits because they no longer serve the purpose they once did.
In certain places you can get a glimpse of what is to come. That sure looks like it will be a multi-story building, but beyond that, you can’t tell what it’ll be just by looking.
Other places…it just looks like a huge hole in the ground.
And just like when a city is under construction, when God is working in our lives, we can be difficult…or inconvenient.
I’m thinking about this, because it saddens me to see how poorly the church is at helping people through those periods of their lives when it feels like everything is in a state of upheaval. (To be clear, I think many churches do an incredible job helping those outside of the church who’s lives are in upheaval…but when it is one of their own…you often don’t see the same level of grace extended.)
We pray asking God for transformation to happen in people’s lives…then we’re upset that it’s so messy, and inconvenient when it actually happens. And so the church ends up being the last place people feel they can allow people a peek into what is actually going on in their lives.
There are two big lessons I believe God has been teaching me since we arrived in Dublin…one has to deal with identity, the other with grace. I’ve shared in this space previously about how our family was in a difficult place around the time we were getting ready to move here. And while we needed a period of rest, and healing and grace…that was not what we experienced.
When someone’s kids are in a tough place, do we look for ways to help and encourage, or do we question their parenting methods? When someone goes through a difficulty at work, do we try to help them see what God might be doing in the midst of this, or do we load them up with a series of things that they might be doing wrong. You get the idea…and have likely been on the receiving end of one of those conversations. Do we get frustrated when people are in the midst of this kind of stuff, or do we have the heart to be able to simply sit with them?
When construction is going on in our city, we usually want it done as quickly as possible so that we can get back to our normal routine…and hopefully experience some of the benefit of this new project.
When those around us and going though times of tearing down and building up in their lives…are we in a hurry for it to be over so that we can get back to our normal routine and no longer have to deal with the inconvenience?
Or can we peek into the construction site and look for a glimpse of what it is that God is doing here…and be bringers of hope and grace?#thekindofchurchidreamabout￼
Also published on Medium.