I have been impressed with the amount of construction going on in Sokolov in the past few weeks. Building after building has scaffolding on it, including one side of my flat building and the middle school that I teach at. The scaffolding though isn’t the cool part. The cool thing is that in only a few short weeks I have seen buildings go from drab, gray, construction sites to bright, colorful and exciting. Sokolov, at least on a superficial outward level, is being renewed.
I think this idea of renewal is a great metaphor for our own lives. Of course I think we all want to be renewed, especially on a daily basis. We want to jump out of bed, pull the curtains, let the sun in and just thank God for the day. It doesn’t matter if our eyes are still crusty or we are wearing the giant stinky T-shirt that we have slept in for ages. We feel renewed.
I don’t think renewal is an easy thing though. The buildings in Sokolov are not being changed overnight or by any simple process. Many, many workers are putting in full days, doing what they have to do to prepare and paint the buildings that they are assigned to. We can’t force ourselves to be happy. We can’t mumble a simple, memorized prayer and expect to be refreshed. It takes effort. And hope. And faith. It is not a paint-job on the surface, it goes deeper to our very souls, our core being.
I want to be renewed. I want to wake up everyday with the thought that, “If God is for me who can be against me?”, no matter what my circumstances might be. And I want to see Sokolov renewed as well. I want to see people’s hearts be as radiant as the colors I am seeing spring up all over town. I want the church I attend to grow so much that when I leave it is thinking about planting another. I want my students to feel the love and purpose that only a relationship with God can bring.
It won’t be easy. I better start praying now.