on tearing down and building up

God reached out, touched my mouth, and said, "Look! I've just put my
words in your mouth...I've given you a job to do among nations and
governments...Your job is to pull up and
, take apart
and demolish, and then
, building and planting."
-Jeremiah 1:9-10
(The Message)

I started reading through the first chapter of the book of Jeremiah over spring break. This verse about tearing things down to build them up again has been sticking with me, doing something in me...I'm just not sure exactly what yet. What I'm learning is this:

1) God is a Restorer. That is who He is. That is what He does. That is what He did and it is what He will do. In Him, the broken things are made right and the upside down things are flipped over and the desert places are filled with water. He is making things right, even now.

2) God's weapon of restoration is HOPE. Hope does not look like a soft, nice glittering cloud - Hope is a ravaging warrior. Hope has a sword out and is clearing a path for righteousness. Hope offends people. Hope means fighting for possibility, it is not passive. You've got to do something about hope. You've got to steer it in the right direction. You've got to use it to tear down the things that aren't working so that the things that will work have space. You can't hide hope in a corner, you can't gently encourage it to do it's business - you have to rattle it up and make it wild and run alongside it.

3) There is nothing that can withstand it - hope, that is. It is a defeater. Hope defeats sorrow and poverty and (as a man named Jesus once proved) even death. Therefore, it is bigger than even really big, broken things - bigger than starvation and disease and children without shoes in Chureca. Bigger than the divided homes high school kids live in. Bigger than my own sin and arrogance and faults. I know this because I've seen it and am continually seeing it.

4) There is work to do. We are his warriors of hope. You. Me. We've got to battle with it leading in front of us. We've got to recognize our authority, our right to go into the places of hurting and fragmentation and despair and clear all those things out. That is our job - the clearing away. And after that, then comes the planting.

5) I need to be conquered by it. Before I can figure out what it means, where to take hope and clear away space for grace and reconciliation, how to do that - I've got to let it work in me first. God has that job, and it's a daily one: the clearing away, the making me more like Him, the planting of salvation. But I've got to let it happen, everyday. I must surrender to hope - it's bigger than me.

So those are the thoughts. Now the questions, the ones I ask myself daily and that I'm asking you as well: What are you fighting for? What are you fighting with? Are you willing to tear things down to build new things instead? Are you willing to be conquered, to surrender to something a thousand times more worthy and beautiful than yourself?


Lauren said...

Em - have been meaning to comment on this post all day - so very inspiring, truly. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on hope.

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