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by Chad Pierce
It’s what on the inside that counts. If I have learned one thing this week, it’s that.
On Monday I spilled coffee, and I mean just a little bit, onto my laptop keyboard. I was thankful it still worked, and then it didn’t. Every time I hit the delete button my volume would go down. Then my computer started turning itself on and off repeatedly. My battery stopped working too. Just a little bit of coffee has now ruined the whole thing. My computer looks the same, but the thing is now possessed.
Later in the week my wife and I decided that our lives weren’t chaotic enough so we decided to gut our master bathroom. We also figured we could do most of the work ourselves. I demolished everything and began the arduous process of putting it back together. A contractor stopped by for what I assured him was a small project. I just needed a wall built for a new shower. He lugged in his tools, looked around, and took a rather large deep breath. “How are you going to re-rout this plumbing?” Now that was a good question. “Did you notice that your subfloor needs to be patched better?” Nope. Unfortunately for me there were a few more questions. Unfortunately for him I had similar answers to all of them.
My contractor and I spent a nice day together. Apparently we are going to see each other again soon.
While in all sincerity, I knew that this project would be more than I bargained for, what stuck out to me most was how much work went in to things that no one ever sees. Pipes and wires, studs and screws were all carefully laid out and placed. They will all be covered up, some day, but they are there. And without them the bathroom would not work.
2 Corinthians 5:17 teaches us that “if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new.” While I know that this passage has cosmic implications, the idea that God’s kingdom has burst onto the scene, the fact this world is no longer the same, I can’t help during this resurrection season but to think about what that means for the individual believer.
If the Holy Spirit unites us to the resurrected Christ, then we are resurrected…all of us. There are still so many Christians who live life holding on to the baggage that weighs so heavily in our lives. We walk around looking our best for others, but inside we are such a mess. We believe in Jesus. We believe in a resurrection of the dead, but we do not live into that resurrection right here and right now. Like a naïve pastor working on a bathroom we fail to really engage what is behind our walls.
Maybe it’s a small something in our lives that we just can’t seem to shake. But as I learned this week, even a little coffee can affect the whole computer. Maybe it is something big from our past: a sin, a hurt, a lie, an addiction, a…. Whatever it is, our failure to open up our walls and hand over everything has cost us a full and resurrected life in Christ.
I don’t mean to be flippant about our past and present wounds. I am not saying that one should simply just lay them at the feet of Jesus, although he would take them if we did. I write this blog today exhausted, tired, sweaty, and probably a little crabby from my working behind the walls. Self examination, repentance, understanding, forgiveness, and healing involve incredibly hard work and a humility to simply be open, all at the same time.
And yet I have to believe that the vulnerably hard work is worth it.
Chad Pierce is pastor of Faith Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan.