Don’t forget our daily reflection for this, the 5th week of Lent: Facing our Death.
When I was in high school, I had a friend who owned one of those old Ford trucks from the 1940s. It was a mix of red and primer grey, having been painted and repainted several times through the years. Although it was outdated and from another era, there was something strangely intriguing about that truck. In a school parking lot filled with a mix of brand new Mustang convertables (dang spoiled rich kids!) and hand-me-down family beaters, this truck stood out as something different. Classic. Cool.
There was just one problem: it would break down every other week. Literally. The thing was always one tank of gas away from needing some type of repair work to get it back into working condition. We always wondered why this guy spent so much time and effort fixing that old truck up when he knew something else would need mending in just a short time. Because even with all its appeal, what vehicle was worth all that effort?
One day after school, a group of us walked out to the parking lot to see a familiar sight – our friend bent over underneath the hood of that truck. And as we waited for his dad to come to his rescue, he let us in on the secret. That truck had belonged to his father and his grandfather before that. To him it had much more value than its bluebook listing. And part of the joy in owning something like that was the constant work you put into making sure it would hold up and keep going.
And that truck kept on going. It made it through graduation and beyond.
There’s this beautiful passage in Psalm 139 that speaks of how carefully God made us:
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
What a wonderful thought to ponder – that God put us together carefully and perfectly. And yet imbedded deep within that idea is that we are made pristine, unblemished creatures that simply need to avoid sullying ourselves. To not mess up the wonderful thing that God created in us.
And so when the inevitable comes, when we don’t just slip and fall down, but completely mess ourselves, we can feel like damaged goods. Like an old, broken down vehicle that’s no longer worth the time or effort. Who in the world would put up with all the upkeep that our lives require?
Just like that old truck, God sees so much more in us. I do believe that he put that much care into our creation. But I also believe that he doesn’t just mind, but looks forward to the time and repair that must be done to your soul to keep you running. Like that old Ford, our God derives joy in the upkeep of your life. He sees joy not just in your creation, but in your restoration.
Because God is really into resurrection.
And this is what these weeks of Lent has brought me. My life will continue to be filled with shortcomings and failures. There will be times when I completely break down. But I have an owner who takes joy in the restoration. Because just as Lent leads to Easter, my failures always lead to resurrection through Jesus.
So today, thank God for your failures. Rejoice if you feel broken. Because you are not damaged goods. You are a prized possession that has so much more value than meets the eye. And even though God doesn’t desire your fall, he looks forward to the remodel.