The rain pours outside my window as I write—and the contrast between the gray skies and the fresh green of new growth could not be more delightful. The observations of the contrasts of changing seasons remind us of the chapter of the redemptive narrative in which we live. We already know the end of this story: life and life abundantly. But we are Not. There. Yet.
Yet. We live in the tension of that word. The new life we have in Christ is both now and not yet. Death has been conquered, but we have yet to pass beyond the veil. Sin’s power has been broken, but its presence is still very real in our lives. We are new creations, yet still being made new. Redeemed yet not fully restored.
These are familiar words. You have heard that “for the joy set before Him, [Jesus] endured the cross, despising the shame.” (Hebrews 12:2) You know that joy mentioned is us: a restoration of intimacy with the Father through the blood of the Son.
But did you know that He wired us for the same joy?
In this Age of Information, it seems everyone knows how vital the first two years of a child’s life are for growth: cognitive leaps, physical milestones, relational/emotional bonds. Infants whose mothers and fathers connect with them physically and with an attentive, kind gaze, diligently care for their needs, calmly and tenderly respond to their cries—these children go on to be well-adjusted adults. The study of this parent-child bond (“attachment theory”) paints a picture of what can go right . . . and what can go so very wrong. As you meditate on these statements, perhaps as a now-adult child you think of the brokenness you bring into relationship. Perhaps as a parent you think somberly over the times you have responded impatiently or irritably, left a child to cry (whether from bad advice or the need to take a few deep breaths before plunging in again), or even lashed out in anger. But consider this: According to therapists who continue to unpack attachment theory, 70% of the bond with our children is established in the repair. The repair. Reconciliation. I was wrong. I’m sorry. I love you.
We are made in such a way that the most intimate bonds of our lives are strengthened through the work we do to repair them—stronger than before in the places where they have been mended. For Jesus, the work of redemption on our behalf commenced the ministry of reconciliation He has passed on to us: the repair work cycle. Repent. Repair. Repeat.
Our work flows from Christ’s finished work. We have the privilege to follow in His footsteps, not by one ultimate death on the cross to restore all mankind, but through tiny, daily deaths to our sin. These daily deaths bring resurrection life into relationship, restore trust, reestablish the interrelational bond so that it is stronger than before, not on the foundation of my rightness, but His righteousness.
May the thought and action of repentance bring you great joy. May it be renewed every morning. The old things have passed away: Behold! New things have come.