Cornerstone

“...The muscles of faith we are exercising, oft unaware, in the monotonous seasons, are the ones we will call upon to do heavy lifting in the stormy vale.”

Summertime has a wonderful air of ease to it. It’s a time for kids to sleep in (oh wait, kids don’t sleep in), for water games and lemonade stands, lighter traffic and evening outings to the Hollywood Bowl. It’s typically the season most people look to for vacation plans – a fun adventure outside of the normal work/school demands of life. Ironically, the lack of structure during summertime for some families eventually creates a yearning for the predictable schedule that comes with the school year.

We live, by and large, by the predictability of life. We like the sense of freedom that comes with summertime, and we like the routines of a school year. Theology matters for our routine, our felt humdrum, our predictable events. There is a sacredness found in faithfulness with the daily comings and goings of life. We honor God in recognizing He is with us in our hiddenness, working out His purposes through our smallness in this world (1 Cor. 1:27), glorifying Himself as we abide in Him and steadfastly commit to Him the everyday things He has entrusted to us (John 15:4-5). 

But theology matters in our routine for more reasons than just learning how to live out God’s purposes in our monotonous seasons. Theology matters because routine is far less dependable than we tend to think. As a nurse, I see “normal life” interrupted far more than I would want for anyone. A casual Sunday running errands is interrupted by a horrific car accident. A child with “normal” sick kid symptoms is suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor. A family BBQ becomes an unforgettable scene of a toddler who fell unnoticed into the pool. What then of our theology that we may or may not have linked to a comfortable routine?

Dark stories for a summer post, I know. But isn’t this why theology matters? We don’t expect dark stories in the summer. But quite frankly, dark stories never really find their home in the fall, or the winter, or the spring, either. We can anticipate some hardships, but any of us who have been alive long enough know that we can’t really plan for when the hardest storms come. They hit hard and they don’t play fair. They come at us when we aren’t looking and suddenly we find ourselves with heads spinning, our faces to the ground. 

Theology matters because the muscles of faith and godly character we are exercising, oft unaware, in the monotonous seasons, are the ones we will call upon to do heavy lifting in the stormy vale. 

I once spent a day taking care of a family whose child was waiting to go to the OR for brain surgery. It was an unexpected brain tumor. The young pre-school age child was not allowed to eat before going into surgery, but the surgery kept getting postponed from morning til mid-day, then from mid-day to afternoon, then from afternoon to early evening. The OR room was occupied by another neurosurgical case that was taking far longer than expected. The child’s frustration with his parents’ and nurses’ ongoing denial of food and drink grew exponentially with time. By 3pm, he was screaming in 30-40 minute blocks, “Daddy won’t let me eat!! DADDY WON’T LET ME EAT!!!” 

His parents held their tongues with gritty determination. They rubbed their temples, alternated holding their screaming son, and promised him between apologies, “Soon, son. We’ll let you eat soon.” Between screaming fits, the boy would wearily call out, “…Mommy…?” His mother’s reply was always the same, “I am always here for you.” There was a faithfulness I saw in them. I could see this was familiar language in their home, familiar exercise of holding one’s tongue in response to trying tantrums, familiar resolve to maintain steadfast love. They were using muscles they had exercised repeatedly in their more humdrum days.

Because just as in our predictable times, so it remains true in the storms we never saw coming. We honor God in recognizing He is with us in our hiddenness, working out His purposes through our smallness in this world, glorifying Himself as we abide in Him and steadfastly commit to Him the everyday things He has entrusted to us. We are exercising our faith in a theology that matters, for all the foreseeable and unforeseeable matters of life. 

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
-Matthew 7:24-27

Alina Sato

Alina is a member of Cornerstone and serves the church as a servant minister.

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