Hopefully this will shock none of you despite the fact that the Chapel asked me to blog for our entire congregation during the season of Lent, but I am not a Bible scholar. I’ve read the Bible (all the way through with a reading plan in 2012, and hopefully this year, too), but I don’t claim to understand all that I read. When I got to Matthew 24; the part about the desolation of the Temple, everyone running for the hills, and woe to the pregnant and nursing mothers, I thought, “Wow. I am really in over my head here right now.” I don’t know enough to interpret this level of depth, and I certainly don’t want to pretend I know how, so I just won’t.
That being said, here is what I can relate to: I’ve known destruction. I’ve known hopelessness, and life that has become so devastated by sin that the relationship is unbearably sad and painful to maintain. I’ve known the grief and gut-wrenching hurt that comes from the decision that there’s nothing left to do but run…it’s not as if you stayed there’d be anything left to salvage. But while running, I prayed constantly, fervently, knowing that behind me sin was causing something once beautiful to turn to ruins. And tragically, after that destruction there was nothing left but ash and a shadow of what had previously stood.
Now, as time has passed, I can joyfully say I’ve also seen the other side. I’ve watched life built from the ash, with time, care, peace, and new understanding. I’ve experienced the sheer elation of rebuilding a relationship that I would have once called both excruciating and futile. My heart is so full of joy and pride at this newness that sometimes I really feel it might burst – something I never believed would be possible. I’ve cried more happy tears in the last year than tears of anguish in the previous several years combined.
People: destruction when it heralds renewal, while still painful and scary, is incredible.
Having had that experience, if “the renewal of all things” (v. 19:28) that Jesus says comes after a time of great judgment is even better than the renewal I’ve seen, then I can say with all honesty that I welcome the destruction.