I’m driving down the road, our usual route to town, and the van is three-boy loud. There’s singing. Laughter. Voices filling every space.
And I’m looking for a fireplace and its chimney.
The small community I’m driving through is worn and tired. It was once solid and strong, but several manufacturing plants closed years ago, and small towns like this paid the toll. I pass a row of homes, close together and close to the road, and I begin to slow down.
I don’t want to miss the chimney.
The chimney stands on a parcel of land that stretches between two houses. The lot is overgrown with a wild tangle of brush and weeds. There was once a house there, but nearly everything about that home is gone. The frame. The plaster. The roof and floors and ceilings and walls.
But on the edge of the lot, the chimney stack stands strong.
I’m drawn to this stack of bricks each time I drive by. Something about it is striking. Something about it moves my soul. I think it’s because it reminds me a bit of how life can be. There can be tough times. Treasured things can fall away. We may not like it, but loss is a part of life. Loss of relationships. Jobs. Loved ones.
We sometimes have to let go of plans. Dreams. Ideas of what we thought life or circumstances or relationships would be. Lonny and I have been working through a hardship. It’s brought some loss. But we’ve learned a precious truth…
If our lives are built on the rock of Jesus, if we’re made stable and strong with the mortar of His love, when other things fall away, we’ll be still be standing.
Think for a moment of Paul. What an example of a man standing like stone! He was three times shipwrecked. Imprisoned. Beaten with rods. Faced dangers from rivers and people. Trouble in the wilderness and trouble at sea. He was hungry and cold.
He had a struggle that stuck in his life like a thorn in the side. But he stood strong in the power of the resurrected Christ. He was empowered by the Holy Spirit. Circumstance didn’t define him. His strength in the Lord did.
There is never a deficiency. There is never a shortage when our strength comes from the Lord. His grace is sufficient and His strength is enough.
I look out the window just in time to see the chimney. The day is coming to a close and it’s getting dark. But the chimney is there, standing strong, stacked against the evening hues.
Just like a life made strong in the Lord.
Written by Shawnelle Eliasen
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