“What is true is that the world has always been this way, people have always been this way, grace always bats last, it just does–and finally, when all is said and done, and the dust settles, which it does, Love is sovereign here.” Anne Lamott on Facebook
It’s been a hot, dry summer. Though I love the heat, this area is not desert. All around us is evidence of an earth badly in need of rain. Grass that is usually bursting with the green of new life is like straw, brown and crackly under our feet. On Saturday evening, we took a walk to our favorite spot — a place we call “the end of the world.” It’s the end of a peninsula, surrounded on three sides by water. As we approached the spot where we usually sit by the ocean, we noticed the sky darken above us. We knew the signs– a thunderstorm was coming. We decided to head home. Five minutes after we arrived, the heavens opened. A torrential thunderstorm brought water and cool to our earth.
For 15 minutes, cool, refreshing water flowed from sky to ground. And then, as suddenly as it began, it stopped. The sky, so dark moments before, erupted into amazing colors. Redemptive, healing rain ending with brilliant colors. I looked at the colors and I thought “All is well.”
The other day, being in a frame of mind where the state of the world seemed particularly bleak, I googled “Awful things that happened in the Bible.”
As in so many things Google – I was not disappointed. The first thing that came up was an article called Top Ten Horrifying Moments in the Bible.
The article appropriately begins with Job. Job’s the guy who lived out God’s celestial wager with Satan. As Satan walks to and fro, we are told that God says “Hey! Take a look at Job! He loves me! He has integrity. He walks with me!” And Satan gives all sorts of reasons why Job loves God – in essence, who wouldn’t love God if they had riches and land, beautiful children and safety? So the wager is on. And at the end, after Job has lost everything except his life, we have this joyous proclamation “I know that my Redeemer lives! And that in the end — I will stand. After my skin has been destroyed, in my flesh I will see God.”
And there we have it: “I know that my Redeemer Lives.”
God has always been in the business of taking our broken world and helping us to see redemption, helping us to see him. Sometimes we see only the briefest glimmer; other times it’s over the top fireworks – but always, always there is redemption.
It is in the chartreuse of the sunset.
It is in the patience of the suffering.
It is in the snow-capped mountains.
It is in the salty waves of the ocean.
It is in the vast expanse of the heavens.
It is in the caregiver of the loved one with dementia.
It is in the laughter and tears shared with friends.
It’s in the resilience of the refugee.
It is in the prayers of the mom of the prodigal.
It is in the burst of sunrise that comes over the horizon.
It is in the scent of a newborn baby.
It is in art and in film; in food and in work.
It is in a long obedience in the same direction.
It is in the Body, and it is in the Blood.
Horrifying things will happen — we live in a fractured world. But redemption?
Redemption is everywhere. We just need eyes to see.