I walk in the empty room, and it feels like I live there. For a moment I see the room as it was…Tweety Bird comforter. Bugs Bunny poster. I see friends sitting on my bed and in my chair. My word processor on the desk. Robe on the closet hook.
Twenty-two years since I called this room my home. Since I eagerly opened packages from my momma addressed to Sarah Bailey, 2411 Lyon Tower, West Virginia University, Morgantown.
And it seems so much the same. Like I’m 18, not 40.
[Side note: Have you done this? Gone back to a place that defined your life? It’s like time stops, right?]
I turn back from the window and my daughter stands in the door – 2411 just visible over her head. And this feeling comes over me. I wish I could give voice to the moment, but words feel so inadequate.
Joy, I think. But there’s peace too. It’s this nanosecond in which I feel God deep in my bones say…I see you. I waste nothing. Just look at her! I have created this moment.
I met Hannah’s dad on this floor. One floor up or down. Another dorm. I’d (probably) never have met him. We didn’t share a major or classes. Different states, different interests But we did share a floor, a common room with only one TV, and my word processor.
And regardless of how life looks like now, I look at my beautiful, ambitious Hannah standing in the doorway where her dad stood day after day, and I know: this is full circle, friends. This is…she couldn’t possibly be standing there without a sovereign God who loves me and her dad and her. All of us.
He wastes nothing. I know in the moments of anger and hurt, it seems He wastes. I know in the seasons of rejection and loneliness, it seems God has left the building. I know in THIS MOMENT, you do not understand. Me either.
He knows, He sees, He allows, He works. He really does.
And I am overwhelmed and thankful that He gave me this unexpected gift. This glimpse of his work, His plan. This nanosecond of joy and peace. Truly, it was a moment of spontaneous healing that I can’t articulate.
I wanted to jump and down and say…it was worth it! All of the ick and hurt were soooo worth it because LOOK AT HER! Look at what God brought through the young couple in Lyon Tower. Even if we messed it all up later…just look at her. [insert all the heart and party emoticons right here!]
And as I walk back down four flights of stairs, I think of Hebrews 11. It’s the Bible’s Hall of Faith. It was by faith that Joseph…that Moses…that Abraham…that Isaac…that Sarah and on and on.
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going… (11:8)
It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead (11:11-12)
It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. (11:25-26)
The heroes of our faith…going to a foreign land without even knowing his destination , believing she could give birth at 90 years old because God said so, and leaving a life of luxury for oppression.
They did big big things for God. Showed remarkable faith in the following. And guess what?
All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. (11:39)
Friends, they didn’t see all of God’s promises fulfilled or get all he had promised this side of heaven.
And so it is with us. Most of our hurt, pain, sacrifice, and suffering won’t be made whole, explained, or understood this side of heaven. We won’t receive all the promises while still here on earth.
But sometimes, we get a glimpse. A brief look through the peephole into God’s redemptive work. Into a God working all things together for good. Into the just God who promises that one day He will return, make all things new, and set all things right.
Yesterday, I looked through the peephole of 2411 – a nondescript room on a college campus – and I saw Him at work, felt his peace, and knew His joy. And I know for sure that He’s a good, good Father holding me in His hands, loving me, redeeming my story, one day at a time.
I won’t see entire plan or know all the answers this side of heaven. But that’s ok. That’s what faith is.