A few years ago, Alan and I visited the Chicago area. We had the privilege of being with our publisher, InterVarsity Press. They had just come off a very busy and challenging 18-month project to overhaul their IT systems. We were able to be with them on a day set aside for refreshment, training and celebration.
To say they were tired is an understatement. Taking something old and replacing it with something new can be a herculean task. The end product will serve the organization much better, well into the future, but it did come at a price–long hours, job responsibilities shifted for a time, and learning a new process and system.
Sometimes we have to say goodbye to an old way of doing things and completely overhaul it, in order to make our way forward.
The day after we were with IVP, we enjoyed the city of Chicago, something neither I nor Alan had done before. We chose to begin at Millennium Park. I had to see “The Bean.” I found out later that day that it is actually called “The Cloud Gate.” Who knew?
As we were looking at a map of the park, I noticed a structure with large columns, akin to a colosseum. It was clearly under construction, with barriers set up all around. I took a quick glance and wrote it off as “unvisitable.”
After enjoying the Cloud Gate, we were on our way to see the fountain. As we strolled the sidewalks, we came upon a large, empty rectangle, with two large posts in the center. The fountain was dry. It was also under construction and surrounded by barriers.
Even though there was nothing to look at, we stood and stared at the non-functioning fountain for more than a few minutes. I began to see the “under construction” barriers as symbols of times when my soul had undergone some rehab.
Trials, pruning, whatever you want to call it, it is not a pretty sight. Things don’t work the way they used to. And in the middle of new construction, you aren’t quite sure if the end result is worth it, or if it is even if there actually is a finish line.
I wish I had taken a photo of the fountain. I would share it with you here. But I didn’t deem it worthy since it was in the process of renovation.
But what if we could appreciate all aspects of an overhaul or renovation? The exciting start, the mid-way slump and the long-awaited completion. Each stage is a necessary part of the process.
If you are in the middle of a season of change, you likely feel out of place, neither here nor there. You need some fresh air, some energy to keep going.
If you are at the end of a season of change, you may be tired. You desire to celebrate, but you can’t keep your eyes open. Plus, the next project is looming before you and you don’t know if you have time to celebrate.
Here is a passage on which you can hang your hat no matter what stage of your process you are in.
The path of right-living people is level.
The Leveler evens the road for the right-living.
We’re in no hurry, God. We’re content to linger
in the path sign-posted with your decisions.
Who you are and what you’ve done
are all we’ll ever want.
Through the night my soul longs for you.
Deep from within me my spirit reaches out to you.
When your decisions are on public display,
everyone learns how to live right. (Isaiah 26:7-9, The Message)
So, if you are standing in front of your own metaphorical “under construction” fountain and deeming it “unvisitable,” take heart. This part of the process matters too.
May Isaiah 26 be a source of encouragement to you as you ponder your current season in God’s presence.
Adapted from a blog dated April 12, 2017