There are some days that I feel life so simply, so sweetly. As if, all a day needed to remind me that God made it and made it well, was tromping through sagebrush-speckled grasslands with a dog, a mom, and two pairs of chocolate milk and apple fritters. This, immediately after a day that had me feeling decidedly off-kilter with all of life’s layered complexities that I scrabbled to reconcile my part in – and not the fun, 7-layer dip kind either.
How does that work? How can we be so paradoxical, as humans created by a veracious God? How do we live lives that are messier than a Jackson Pollock sometimes, yet just as beautiful at others? It can make my head spin at times.
How amazing, then, that our noodl-y selves have the ability to flip heavy tables laden with all the complex, greasy, rusted parts of life’s engine that we’re trying to squint at in order to desperately figure out. It’s like we’re constantly scuffling around, trying to order parts we’re not sure exist, for a model we’re not always confident in, within a garage muddled with uncleaned oil spills and clutter of the highest level.
Sometimes we try so hard, only to spin our own tires, going absolutely nowhere.
That’s when we need to flip those tables that we thought would help us make more sense of all the bits and pieces. Perhaps we thought lugging out that unwieldly table, covered in cobwebs, which raised the mess from one level to another, would mysteriously deliver a conclusion to our battered hearts and minds. Yet it didn’t. It only succeeded in making the mess even bigger in front of our eyes.
That’s when, in the midst of covering our emotional face with our oily hands, smearing goodness knows what across our face, a small, still voice pokes clearly through the depth of our clenched heart and hands. It says, “Stop trying to do this by yourself. You weren’t meant to, but I was. I made it, after all. I’ll put it all back together.”
The table before us is now so heavy with all the foreign-looking objects that make up the engine we’re attempting to repair. Yet, we find the strength to grip it and turn it over itself, parts a-clattering, and awkwardly walk overtop it to grab the phone hanging on the wall. We call the Mechanic, and explain our problems. He listens quietly, gently responsive here and there, as we continue to rub our mucky hands all over our face with our distress. Hearing the silence before He seems about to speak makes us pause, though.
Then He’s there, taking the phone and hanging it up for us, then gently taking our shoulders and directing us over and down into a chair nearby. He gives us something warm and soothing to drink, and says to watch. We do, and our face goes a little slack at seeing Him pick up each complex piece, wipe it clean, and maneuver it into place within the engine still set above the grease pit. In fact, at one point, He hopped down into that pit, did what He needed to for a few minutes, and then easily pulled himself out again.
It was after that He motions us over to look under the hood, having cleaned everything up, and puts His arm around our shoulder in a fatherly way. He points out the inner workings of so many pieces that we couldn’t possibly understand it all. He notices the look on our face, and smiles. He says it’s okay. He has it all covered and we could come and ask Him to fix it again any time it starts running rougher again.
Actually, He gently recommends that we let Him know sooner, because then it would be easier for us next time. Our hand awkwardly rubs our neck. Yanking it back, we realize we didn’t want to keep spreading that oily mess we’d gotten all over our face before. Though somehow, our hands were mysteriously clean again and so was our face, we discover, patting it down in wonder.
We stare up at Him with wide, open eyes, and He smiles back warmly. Chuckling, He takes the cap off His head and presses it onto ours, adjusting the fit for us and pats it gently. He asks us if we’re going to take it for another spin and we shake ourselves out of our stupor, nodding eagerly.
He waits for us to hop in the driver’s seat, then climbs in the passenger side with us. We start the engine and realize it’s never sounded so smooth before. We check mirrors and gauges and buttons, do up our seatbelt, and starting pulling out of the garage. We start thanking Him for all the work He did and He responds kindly, strongly, telling us how welcome we are.
As we take to the street and pick up speed, we realize how enjoyable it is to simply drive like this together, in blessed assurance, that He is there and so are we – at rest.
Now, this post didn’t start with any ideas of allegorical mechanics or blessed hymns. It simply spilled up and over from my heart to yours, out of a desire to translate the machinations of my heart and spirit into digestible words and ideas. Said ideas being the awe and wonder of how easily and quickly at times we can feel “filled with His goodness, lost in His love,” even after times and days of feeling anything but. Sometimes those days are delivered duty-free to our door step, and others we have to go hunting for them. Yet, our Saviour has made it as such and provided ways, through submission, that enable us to enjoy perfect togetherness and perfect delight. It’s days like this, where I have sought and chosen to look for His ways amidst the mess, and my own mess, that I so keenly feel echoes of His grace, whispers of love.
All I can do is write, “This is my story, this is my heart-song; I’m born of his Spirit, washed in his lifeblood; I’ll praise my Savior all the day long.”
In case you needed another solid song, this is the one I wrote this to.