It’s 9:30 AM. I am heading to Milwaukee for a meeting at 10:30. In good traffic, the drive time is 45 minutes. I gave myself an extra 10. Not six miles from my home, I encounter a construction zone on the interstate slowing, then stopping, traffic.
WHAT?! You’ve got to be KIDDING!
There are no alternate routes. I’m stuck. So I coach myself.
“You can either get fretful, get mad, OR you can relax, knowing there’s not a thing you can do to change this situation, and see if there’s something God has to teach you in it.”
Given the fact that I have had 22 years of education, 12 compulsory, 10 by choice, I realize that I sort of like school. So, I sit back, relax, and say, “OK God, what do you have for me here? I’m listening, ready to learn.”
I look around. Some construction crew men with muscle-ripped arms handle jackhammers. They break concrete. Concrete! I am amazed at the strength of men, the greater strength of equipment they hold, as they break apart one of the strongest substances on earth—concrete.
Why? Why are they breaking concrete? Apparently, the interstate—the main artery through Wisconsin—is in need. In need of repair? No. In need of total restoration, transformation. The road must be completely rebuilt and, in order to rebuild, the old must be completely torn down.
My eyes move from jackhammer to excavator. One man sits in yellow cab, hands on directional arms, lifting tons of broken concrete up and into dump trucks waiting to carry away.
The once smooth interstate, now hammered, is broken—torn apart. Old making way for new. And I watch. And I learn.
Today’s lesson in God’s school is about His beloved “interstates”. And I am one of them. So many questions.
If God is good, why does He allow such suffering, such breaking apart of those He created, of those He loves?
I have questioned Him directly—many times—and not always nicely. Sometimes, in pain, I scream at Him—WHY?! Why does it have to be so. . . so. . .
This breaking up . . . this tearing down . . .
So many jackhammers break us apart. Relationships gone sour. Finances gone bad. Health gone sick. Kids gone prodigal. Hopes and dreams hammered apart.
Why does such a GOOD God allow—ordain?
God loves us too much to allow us to settle for less than what He has for us. Anything less than Himself is less than.
We humans are such pleasure seekers, such pain avoiders. We seek pleasure, we avoid pain as our first priorities. I know this avoidance too well. God gazes upon us in love and weeps.
“They are satisfied with so little. They are satisfied with anything—everything—that does not satisfy. They will never know soul satisfaction as long as they put ANYTHING in place of—in front of—relationship with Me—their Creator—the lover of their souls.”
So, the goodness of God allows jackhammers of life to break us apart sometimes. God is no masochist. He does not enjoy bringing pain upon His created, His beloved. Unfortunately, we are a stubborn lot. We tend to avoid listening, looking, learning, yielding, growing, until Pain visits us unwelcomed.
If only we could view Pain as our friend, not our foe. Our teacher, not our destroyer.
But I know that Pain must always visit God before it visits us. Our loving God ALWAYS tempers and sifts Pain.
Our loving God NEVER allows Pain more time, more pressure, than deemed necessary to break down citadels constructed—symbolic independence constructions separating us from our Creator. So deceptive. So false. So . . . tempting.
How can a loving God NOT do everything possible to save us from our false selves and restore us to our true selves—made by God, in His image, for RELATIONSHIP with Him as our highest form of fulfillment?
Sometimes we must be broken.
Sometimes we must become rubble.
All times, we must realize our poverty of soul, our brokenness of spirit, our rubble hearts
apart from genuine intimacy with our Maker.
How long does the pain persist?
How long do our hearts remain in rubble piles?
Only as long as it takes to learn and turn.
Finally, the traffic begins to move. No longer stuck. Moved. I’m on my way again, but not the same as before. I’m moved by the perfect love of our Abba Father who allows nothing, NOTHING, to come upon us except for our good, for His glory.
Our ways are not His ways. Our thoughts are not His thoughts. He knows exactly what we need in order to receive the highest good He wants to give us—Himself.
And as my foot gently presses the accelerator, I come before a trailer at the end of the construction zone. Company name is printed clear on the side—ZENITH TECH, INC. No coincidence, I say.
The point directly above the observer. The highest point.
Zenith Construction deconstructs, then reconstructs.
So does our God, Most High. Our entire being is His construction zone. He is above all. He is all wise. He deconstructs when necessary so He can reconstruct for our mutual good—His and ours.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.