We live with an expectation that things get fixed.
We are used to having things repaired, put back together, improved, or these days mostly replaced. We call the repairer, visit our GP, pay for things to be fixed or replaced, and we expect government to fix everything – or we threaten to replace them too!
Right now Australians are complaining about the pace of the vaccine roll-out, our place in the queue, and we are demanding our choice of vaccine, forgetting that this time last year we didn’t even know if there would be one that worked. Not long ago we had begun to think we had the problem fixed, dare I say that we had all but eliminated “the virus” on our safe island home, keeping it offshore or at least in quarantine, but not anymore. They say we are going to have to learn to live with it, just like the rest of the world.
What if we do have to live with it, just like we have to live with many other things we can’t escape or ultimately fix? Are we ready for that?
We find it hard to live with what is broken and can’t be fixed, or where there is delay and we have to wait. That includes our bodies, our relationships, and the church.
Eliud Kipchoge, winner of the recent Olympic marathon said “Where the marathon starts is after 30 kilometres. That’s where you feel pain everywhere in your body. The muscles are really aching, and only the most prepared and well-organized athlete is going to do well after that.”
The marathon starts at 30km. Kipchoge said at the point where his body is breaking down, aching and hurting, is where all his training over the past 5 months kicks in. It enables him to keep going when it feels all too hard.
Christians face the challenges, demands and obstacles of life including the things we can’t fix with faith, God given faith in Jesus Christ. We live with God’s eternal perspective and time-line to restore all things, including us, to himself. In the meantime we are called to persevere, endure and trust. When we begin to hurt for whatever reason, individually or as church, it is not the time to give up. All the years in worship hearing his word, feeding on him in his supper, receiving his forgiveness, in prayer and fellowship with other Christians, and exercising self-discipline, are not suddenly wasted when we hit the wall, or something we can’t get through or over. In fact it is then that this very training comes to the fore when it is needed most. It’s for these very times in life, whatever the wall or the challenge of the “unfixable” might be.
Nicola McDermott, the young Australian who won the first Olympic silver medal in high jump for our country since 1964, wore a wrist band in Tokyo that read “Jesus makes all things new”. She said “It just gave the freedom not to think about the past and focus on what I needed to do. At my first world championships I came last and I didn’t clear a single bar.… but I just remember I’ve got a clean slate, just like my past is a clean slate, so is today.” Enduring bullying as a teenager and early failure as an athlete, she finds her identity and strength in Jesus to face each new challenge. She gave a powerful witness to that on the world stage.
Our faith is not just in a God who fixes things on our demand, but a God who is about making all things new in his own time, beginning with us, from the inside out. It’s a work that commenced in us at baptism, is renewed every day and will come to completion when we are finally with him in heaven. We face and start each day focussing not on what is broken, but on Christ who is making all things new.
As we face the day’s obstacles and challenges with him, we too are going to need to persevere, exercise self-discipline, encourage each other and work together as his body, and draw on the faith that God has honed and hardened in us for the most testing of times in life.
God bless you, and us together, with a resilient faith when we need it most. God help us with the daily self-discipline and exercise of faith that prepares us to live with what is breaking down and what we can’t fix, and to make a difference for him where we can, being part of his renewing of all things in Christ.
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