Why must growth almost always necessitate the tearing down of something?
- In order for muscles to grow, their small fibers must be torn down.
- Forests often grow as a result of fire tearing down that which has been growing for years. The fire releasing needed nutrients from the forest floor, opening the canopy to sunlight, and releasing seeds from certain trees.
- The seashore grows by the constant tearing down of shells and rock.
- Buildings grow larger as walls are torn down and expanded.
- People mature at the tearing down of self-righteous and destructive strongholds.
So often I find myself wishing that there was another way. If only we could grow without pain, grow without change, grow without having to experience the tearing down of something. And yet, I cannot think of any instances in my life when growth came as a result of maintaining the status-quo.
Yet, even knowing that growth requires a tearing down of sorts, I naturally resist the tearing down, often even becoming downright offended by the very mechanism which will ultimately lead to growth!
As I sat in our church worship center this morning memories wrapped around me like a comforting embrace. The room (which I keep reminding myself is just a room) holds a most special place in my heart. For it is the place where God has spoken to my heart countless times through His Word, through others sharing from His Word, through music, through testimonies, and through quiet times of prayer. It is the room where I first felt God’s whisper to write-for Him. It is the room where I had the honor of watching my two children take their first Lord’s Supper after trusting in the saving work of Jesus. It is the room where I am left in tearful wonder each Christmas as candles are raised to the chorus of Silent Night. It is the room where my husband was commissioned to be a deacon. It is the room where we have said painful earthly goodbyes to friends, as well as joyous welcomes to new life.
It is, of course, just a room. But it is a room full of memories, love, hope and the Presence of the Living God.
And it is a room that must now be torn down so that new growth may occur.
God continues to grow our church, our vision, our passion, and our calling. And with that call to growth, comes the practical need of a larger space. I know it is right. I know it is needed. I know it is a calling from the Lord. And yet…..
A tear escapes my grasp for control.
I long to wrap my arms around the four walls and say “NO! Let’s find another way!”
As the powerful lyrics to “It is Well” drift through the room I love, I look at my son whose 6 foot frame now towers over my own. My arms ache with the memory of holding him, just 8 weeks old, during his first ever church service. I glance at his sister who reminds me daily that she is soon to be in double digits. Yet, I still remember the delight of watching the evidence of her moving and kicking to a worship song while safely snuggled inside my womb.
“There is no other way,” I hear the LORD whisper to my heart.
My kids smile at me (completely aware of their mama’s difficulty with letting things go.)
Change is hard. Growth is painful. Letting go can be excruciating.
But, God does not tear down for sport. And He is most gentle with us.
God is in the business of life and hope. And so if God tears down it is always so that new life can begin.
And so, I take one last look around the room that has meant so much to me. I breathe in the familiar, soul-soothing scent. I thank God for bringing us to this place that has become like family. And I walk away….toward the future.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17