Oh, to return to January 1st, 2020. Do you remember when the biggest news was impeachment? I was with some teenagers recently. I asked them, “Use one word to describe the first 6 months of 2020.”
Destruction. There seems to be a dismantling of everything we thought was secure. Assumptions about health, education, economics, and racism have all been challenged. Everything has been blown up in the span of four months. Now we are all trying to make sense of the rubble, wondering if we can put things back together the way the were. Or, do we start from scratch?
Destruction is devastating. Consider the Kubler-Ross “five stages of grief.” How many of these have you experienced since March?
Denial (avoidance, confusion, shock, fear)
Anger (frustration, irritation, anxiety)
Depression (overwhelmed, helpless)
Bargaining (“Can things just be normal again?”)
Acceptance (exploring options, new plans, moving on)
Destruction has a place in God’s arsenal. The Prophets recount this over and over, “to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant” (Jer. 1:10). This is the Lord’s way, “to kill and make alive.” Sometimes there must be an end to be a beginning.
So it goes in our lives. God builds upon our ruins. It is the pattern of repentance and forgiveness.
So it goes in the history of God’s people. “The church is a series of deaths and resurrections.” We are always dying, and yet God is always creating life from the remnant ashes.
So it goes in all the agricultural metaphors in Scripture. The soil must be tilled for new seed to be planted. Jesus said, “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24). Jesus’ own life set the paradigm of destruction and restoration.
2020 is a year of destruction . . . and restoration.
So what destruction is there in your life? Look at it a little closer.
Where is God sprouting a green leaf of something new in the middle of it?