Underneath It All
The last few weeks have felt like a blur. Every morning getting the kids ready and each night getting dinner on the table, cleaning the dishes (and the floor because my daughter is at that adorable age where she has discovered how hilarious it is to feed the dog), and then finally getting kids to bed has felt so taxing. Oh, did I mention that we are currently remodeling the kitchen and thus without a real kitchen right now? Anyone who has ever lived through the chaos of a large renovation knows the struggle. There are dishes in the bedroom, the fridge is in the dining room, the dishwasher somehow took up temporary residence in the hallway by the back door and our table even made its way into the living room for a few days. The entire house has been turned upside down. And before any of that happened, just talking through the logistics took time.
We had to figure out which plates, utensils and appliances to pack away and which to keep out, find a way to cook without an oven or stove (thank you, Instant Pot, you truly work wonders), and in general, just figure out how to live life with two young children in the interim. It was overwhelming to say the least. But then the kids and I came home after the big day ... demo day. The room, void of cabinets, organizers, the pantry and even the drywall, suddenly didn’t look so complicated. I was struck by how simple and frankly, underwhelming the frame of our 1950s ranch really was. For all of the big changes that are to come for our kitchen with a new layout, cabinets, countertops and flooring, the structure of our new kitchen will rely on simple wood beams held together by screws and nails. As it turns out, that fresh, modern kitchen that I’ve been pining after for years isn’t really going to be all that glamorous underneath it all. Strange as it may seem, our renovation got me thinking about the time Jesus spent on earth. During his ministry, I imagine that many people didn’t understand the following that Jesus had. Jesus, the son of a carpenter, came from humble origins. He and his disciples were by no means wealthy. In fact, they traveled with next to nothing.
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Matthew 8:20
On the surface, definitely not anything glamorous. Perhaps, they thought that Jesus was working his way toward power and glory. But many of Jesus’ own disciples were disappointed to learn that Jesus would not establish himself as the earthly king of his people. Again, people probably wondered why anyone would choose to be his disciple. Let’s face it, the people of Jesus’ day weren’t really that different from us. They would have been happy to follow Jesus if he could help them now, solve their problems now. But Jesus never planned on giving us a quick fix for the here and now.
Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
Eternal life in heaven is the greatest gift that we’ll never truly comprehend. As wonderful a gift as it is, it isn’t tangible. The things that we chase after in this life like money, social status, beauty, they seem just within reach. They could be now! They could solve all of our problems! If only we work a little harder, devote more of our time. But building the framework for this world alone will only leave our lives in shambles. Sure we might be able to build an bright, shiny facade, but what’s underneath it all?
I can imagine how utterly disappointed we would have been if on demo day we found a frame that was falling apart, structurally unsound and completely unworkable. As underwhelming and unimpressive as those 1950s wood beams appear, they’re solid. We’ll be able to build a new kitchen knowing that underneath those rich espresso cabinets, there’s something of substance holding still holding our house together! Jesus could have come to this earth in all of his power and glory, striking fear into the hearts of those who would follow him, but he didn’t. Our salvation is built on the solid wood beams of the cross that our Savior suffered and died on. Can you imagine the strength it took for Jesus to set aside his godly power to be mocked and tortured by the very people he came to save? It’s incomprehensible, but he did it for us. And even though we get distracted trying to obtain the right finishings that we think our lives need, the framework has already been laid for eternity.
I can tell you that throughout the renovation process, our son has had mixed feelings about the whole idea of getting a new kitchen. At four years old, he is very resistant to the idea of change. But as my husband explains each step, I can see his resistance soften and his curiosity grow. The more he learns about all of the work that goes into building the new kitchen, the more excited he becomes about the end result. As much as we tried to talk up the new kitchen that he didn’t want, it took ripping it all down and starting from scratch to get him to open up to the idea of change for the better.
So we know that Jesus already paid the price for our salvation, why remodel our lives? It can be easy to become complacent in our faith. You’re okay as long as you go to church every Sunday... well maybe just when you don’t have other things going on. I’ve fallen into that rut myself. When we find ourselves in a spiritual lull, it’s time to go back to the framework. Back before Jesus ascended into heaven, back before he revealed himself to his disciples in all his glory after rising from the grave ... back to the cross. Back to those solid wood beams. Is the life you’re living a reflection of the gratitude and awe you felt on Good Friday? I know your life is busy with work or school or kids or aging parents that need your care ... it gets so busy! But what’s underneath it all? Easter is over, but Jesus’ victory over death is something we can celebrate every single day. Every day, as busy or mundane is it may be, is still a day that we’re living as sanctified children of God.
One day (hopefully soon), the kitchen remodel will be complete. I’ll be able to make my family’s dinners on an actual stove, my nights won’t be spent doing dishes in my bathroom, I won’t bang my elbow on the fridge as I try to squeeze through the hallway. And eventually my appreciation for that brand new, beautiful kitchen will fade. When that happens, I want to be able to look back, back to this time now and feel gratitude all over again.
Our salvation (a far, FAR greater gift than a kitchen) is something that should never lose its luster. But when it does, and for us sinful creatures it will, we can look back to the cross.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20