Humanity loves to celebrate sacrifice.
The world’s greatest sport, baseball, even rewards players who are willing to perform a sacrifice. You can have a player execute a sacrifice bunt or sacrifice fly. In each case the team benefits, but the player sacrifices his individual achievement for the sake of helping his team win.
After a player sacrifices himself, the team surrounds him, encourages him, and celebrates his success.
Sacrifice leads to reward.
Sacrifice leads to something new.
Something new comes because we are willing to let go of the old.
We’re willing to sacrifice what once was.
The letting go is what I have been thinking about a lot recently. Letting go is about shattering the old perception, the old way. It’s the understanding things are not as they were.
The moment you realize you’ve been holding on to a particular way or object and it’s time to sacrifice it, it’s time to hold it loosely and see what stays in your palm.
It could mean it comes back to you. Or, perhaps, you may never see it again. If you do se it again, it may come back to you as something completely different than you ever anticipated it becoming.
Either way, it’s the shattering.
Sacrifice shatters expectations.
Sacrifice shatters the hoped for reality.
There were dreams and expectations for what Fall was going to look like. Where I am in October today, is not at all where I thought it would be. It is radically different, but there is still hope what is to come will be even better than what was the hoped for reality. Fall took a 180 degree turn in the midst of the shattering.
My hoped for reality was shattered and I’ve been reflecting on this quite a bit.
My reflecting has taken me to the story of Jonah. The parallel is not exact, so the context doesn’t quite matter. What strikes me is Jonah getting frustrated with God’s provision in the moment.
Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city. Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, ‘It is better for me to die than to live.’ But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.’ And the Lord said, ‘You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night.’
This conversation is about Jonah’s shattered hope for reality.
It was Jonah’s shattering.
I feel it. I get it. I understand.
The shattering takes an adjustment. It takes rediscovering the purpose of the season. It takes pausing.
In the pause, in the slowdown, you sacrifice what you thought was going to be and learn to adjust to what reality is.
The shattering leads to reconstruction.
In reality, the shattering is actually a rebuilding.
The rebuilding has started, I don’t know yet what is getting constructed – unfortunately I don’t have the fancy, little drawings from Ikea to help me out.
What is this next season going to look like?
Where is it going to lead?
How is God going to move?
These are questions I don’t know the answer to yet but I can’t wait to explore, find out, and celebrate how God has moved.