May 6, 2010
Lessons from the Red House
by John UpChurch, Editor, Jesus.org
For the king knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner.
Acts 26:26, NASB
The hunt for our first house stretched out for months. My wife and I scoured those shiny realty magazines with their cheesy catchphrases. We found such classics as "Cute as a button," "Investor's dream," and "Dollhouse" to be codes for "No cabinet space," "Good luck with that," and "Your head will bump the ceiling" respectively. We surfed by, drove by, and walked through dozens of potential homes, sometimes venturing into the deep recesses of pink-tiled bathrooms, smoke-filled dens, and "pet-loved" carpet.
Nothing worked—until the Red House. After all the websites and fliers and scheduled showings, we found our home because of a small sign flapping in the wind by the side of the road. To be sure, the Red House had its flaws. For example, all the power in the master bedroom ran through a single outlet—barely. One small jiggle and we'd be resetting the clocks for days until I could get it back into balance. But the good far exceeded the niggling qualms (especially when I went crazy with my lawnmower and chopped down the forest in the backyard).
At first, the Red House had a shimmering newness to it. The rooms echoed with space, the arched doorways dressed up our furniture, and the wood floors reflected the sunlight.
And then our lives hurried on.
When our first daughter came home to the Red House, those rooms that seemed so big suddenly shrunk. Those hardwood floors that once shined made tummy time troublesome and crawling a chore. The arched doorways still worked, but we hardly paid attention to them. We had become so familiar with our home that the excitement of having found it slowly lost out to thoughts about what didn't work for us anymore. By the time our second daughter showed up on the ultrasound, the Red House had become a nice—but outdated—relic.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Following Christ may have no greater danger than familiarity. During the early days of the Red House, the excitement boiled over because we'd spent so much time and energy getting there. But once we'd memorized the squeaky spots in the floor and gotten accustomed to the ever-growing vine (read: pretty weed) in the front garden, we lost that wonder.
The events in the Bible—even the miracles—lose the power to impact us if we get too cozy with them. Yeah, God created the universe. Sure, Jesus walked on water and Peter got to join Him. We've read those and heard sermons about them. But when was the last time we thought about them as actual events? Jesus spoke to people who couldn't walk and boom—they walked. Bones molded into shape, muscles filled out, nerves sparked to life. All around jaws dropped. He acted in real time and real space with real people and real pain. Really.
After all, it's not just the story of the empty tomb that makes the difference; it's the reality of that uninhabited grave.