Romans 6:4 “Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
“Re-purposing” is a huge trend at the moment. “Old” looking stuff is “in” right now. On our farm, there is always an abundance of old, vintage stuff! When we bought our 100 year old farm house and acreage four and a half years ago, there were two buildings in the yard: a barn and a corn crib. Both were in pretty tough shape, but the corn crib was the worst. We toyed with the idea of re-purposing or restoring the structure, but it was just too far gone. The outside boards were like Swiss cheese and it barely provided shelter for the pick-up and the cats who sought shelter under it. But before we knocked it down, I had the grand idea to save as many of the interior boards as possible for projects! My husband Grant has learned that every statement beginning with “If we just....” probably originated with a Pinterest picture somewhere and won’t “just” happen, but will create hours of extra work on his part. Oops.
I climbed up the ladder, into the top of the old corn crib and tried my luck at removing a board or two. I thought to myself, ‘How hard can it be to tear down some old boards?!’ Well...After a half an hour of banging, sweating and groaning I had two boards. I wish I was joking. So, being the crafty lady I am, I recruited my father-in-law and his tools to pitch in (he’s a gem!). He sawed, banged and hammered his way through one section. He got quite a few boards, but I was shocked at the amount of work it took to deconstruct the thing. And this was all before the work necessary to make that old wood into something new! UGH. It struck me that it would have been much easier to go to Hobby Lobby, Target, or some stellar boutique to buy something with the “old board” look. Restoration and re-purposing is WAY more work than I expected.
Eventually, my husband, perhaps in a weak moment, joined this ridiculous project. Maybe it was because of the new set of tools, one way to my farmer’s heart, he obliged my ridiculous request. “Just save some more of those boards,” I said, knowing full well how much I was asking. “I can’t stand to see the good ones get knocked down and burned on demolition day.” Or maybe he just loves me that much. Either way, I’m a lucky gal. He rescued some more of those old boards in hopes of restoring them to something new.
It’s been over a year since we saved those boards. I had some of them made into a huge farm table to fit our growing family around. I could have bought a new table much quicker than it took to get this one made. But sitting around that table acts as my daily reminder of how new life takes time, often much more time than we would like or expect.
I was reminded of this truth when we went to family camp this summer at IOLBC. We have had a sibling pair of foster kids, ages 9 and 10, living with us for over a year and a half now. They are a beautiful addition to our family and we love them dearly. There have been more days than I could count where I have hoped, prayed, and pushed for their court hearings to come to a close and for them to experience restoration, hope, and new life in our family. I know they will someday, but most likely not for a long time.
As Christians, we celebrate God making all things new every single day. There isn’t a day which goes by where God doesn’t restore and re-purpose something in us or something in our lives. After this corn crib project, I’m reminded of how tedious and time consuming God’s work of rescue and restoration can sometimes be. God can’t stand to see us waste away in all our old ways because He sees the good in us. So long ago, He began the tedious work of rescuing us through His son Jesus and working to restore us to fulfill His plans and purposes in and through us. Sometimes I forget how long this restoration work really takes. I would much rather see new life in an instant. Shopping for the “old board” look at Target is WAY easier than using an actual old board. Restoration often comes in little moments over long stretches of time, enough time so our hearts can soften and our ears will finally listen to what we need to hear the most.
This summer at camp, in a great act of faith, our sweet foster kiddos got baptized! In this moment I was reminded of how God is bringing new life, hope, healing, and restoration to these kids’ lives and to ours, day by day, whether we see God’s work completed on our timeline or not. God’s work may not be done when it comes to creating this new life in them and in us, but that’s OK. When we are most frustrated, we can turn to God's promises as spoken in Romans 6:4, “just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
Have you been looking for new life to come? Just remember, new life takes time and God is patient to do the hard and laborious work on us and in us to restore and redeem us in every way! That’s good news, even when we aren’t so great at waiting.
1. Take a look around your home. What project, big or small, took longer than you anticipated? How can it be a reminder to you of how new life takes time and to be patient with yourself and others while God works to restore and redeem?
2. Scripture reminds us of others who wait long periods of time to see God's work of restoration and redemption come to fruition. Consider digging into some of the following stories:
- Noah - Genesis 6-8 (it took him 120 YEARS to build the ark!)
- Joseph - Genesis starting in chapter 37 (wronged by many, including his brothers, he saves a nation from famine)
- Ruth - Ruth 1-4 (with no men left alive in her family, she seeks out a kinsman to ensure her and her mother-in-laws survival)
- Prodigal Son - Luke 15:11-32 (a son squanders his inheritance and is still welcomed back by his father)
3. We live in a world where everything moves fast. Consider purposefully slowing down some part of your life and take the time to truly appreciate the work which goes into many of our tasks. Cook a meal from scratch. Walk some place nearby instead of driving. Hand write a letter instead of typing a quick text message. Use hand tools to build something simple instead of power tools or a kit (or buying it already done). What does the experience teach you about patience? BONUS: Invite the younger generation into the experience with you!
Pastor Nicole Woodley is our featured speaker for our 2019 Women's Day Away event on October 19th. She and her husband co-pastor at First Lutheran in Clarion, IA.