Redeeming the Rubble

I’m going to be really real up front: sometimes I wonder if following Jesus is worth it.

*GASP* how can such a thing be said?!?! On a ChRistIAN bLoG No LeSs?!

Can I take a moment to share some more honesty?

I struggle with going to church, despite having grown up inside its walls and at many points in my childhood having been more often found in a pew than in my own home. 

I find reading the Bible to often be a labor filled and exhausting process because I struggle to release my own perspectives and opinions about what I think the world order should be. 

I often come to God with outrageous and audacious questions, frequently approaching the throne with anger and sorrow rather than gratitude and joy. 

I see things like worship concerts in massive stadiums, mission trips to remote countries, and social media posts filled with scripture and devotions and they grind against my soul like sandpaper.

None of these things are bad or wrong. In fact, these practices and events are often facilitated and attended by many of my brothers and sisters in the Kingdom. Honest and genuine, God honoring, loving and truly faithful servants of God. At one time in my life, I was a part of the very same group that now feels so foreign to me.

Some things have changed.

I had become so consumed in looking like I was a good Christian that I had unintentionally hijacked the beauty of God’s redemption

When I came to college in the fall of 2016, my entire world as I knew it came crashing down in some really devastating ways. I would be more than willing to share the details of that with you if you really want to hear it, so hit me up if you’re really that interested, but to summarize it here: everything that I said I believed about God, the church, and this idea of “being Christian” was called into serious question with some divinely inspired events that made me realize my entire faith in God was built on a foundation of self-exaltation and religiosity that had absolutely nothing to do with Jesus.

I had become so consumed in looking like I was a good Christian that I had unintentionally hijacked the beauty of God’s redemption and instead based my faith on a foundation that was even less stable than the house built on sand that Jesus describes in Matthew 7. 

It truly only took one sentence to reduce my “relationship” to a pile of rubble

The reckoning that was underway was brutally painful, incredibly overwhelming, and as it continues even now three years later, at times I think that if the pressure pushing me toward holiness increases by just one degree, my still feeble faith will crumble. This is what it means to be made into a new creation.

I have thought about walking away many times. I have considered giving it all up and moving on with my life, determined to captain my ship in a direction that feels just a little less…excruciating. And yet, I’m still here. Walking this very rugged road to redemption. Still sifting through some of that same rubble.

Jesus rolled up his sleeves and started to rebuild before I even had the strength to ask for his help

How is this possible? To tell you truthfully, I’m not always sure that I know. But what I do know, is that every time I have tried to walk away and every time I have tried to forget, I know that I was not alone on that heap of rubble.

Jesus, the very one who brought about the destruction, didn’t roll through like a tornado, only to disappear, never being seen again. Jesus rolled up his sleeves and started to rebuild before I even had the strength to ask for his help.

Some people reading this may be rolling their eyes right about now because it sounds just so typical and fluffy and cute and all that. I truly cringe even writing out those words. But I am learning that the things that make me want to flip tables in the temple usually have less to do with righteous anger and more to do with my own selfish pride. 

I assure you that there are many journals full of pages stained with tears and filled with profanity and rage and grief and mourning and rejection and anger. 

During my freshman year I was reminded of a passage in Matthew 14. For some reason, the story of Jesus walking on water was popping up all over the place in really strange ways: books I was reading, sermons I was hearing etc. In one of these messages, I heard someone point out a piece of the story that in all my years of church I had never noticed.

We get so caught up in the part where Jesus catches Peter once he starts to sink that we miss the part immediately after where it says that Jesus and Peter got back in the boat and then the storm stopped.

Jesus walked through the storm right alongside Peter.

He didn’t make Peter walk back alone; he didn’t make him swim through the storm.

He walked him through it. 

Now he was taking that story off the page of scripture and into my reality. It took a long time for me to realize that he was busting up my foundation so that he could tend to the soil underneath. He began to redeem that rubble. 

That redemption is still underway. My perspective has slightly shifted, and I think of my spiritual life differently. 

Less concrete, more soil. 

Less clean and ruler straight, it’s messier and slightly crooked.

When you think of your life less like a museum and more like a garden, change becomes a lot less abrasive and you become more aware of your own resilience.

That garden is still full of weeds. The pruning is long and painful. I still get salty when I get the feeling he wants to grow a new crop.

But after a long winter and an even longer planting season, I’m beginning to see a glimpse of the harvest. 

It makes all the rubble worth it. 

Kenny Morgan is a senior vocal performance major who will (hopefully) be found on Broadway one day! He is incredibly passionate about intentional conversations, Taylor Swift and drinking orange juice out of coffee mugs. Favorite pastimes include reading, scaring his friends, and communicating exclusively in musical theatre references.

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