In addition to Down Syndrome, my son Ben has Autism. Part of what comes with that is a delight in making patterns. His favorite activity while watching tv is to make a pattern tower with his Legos. He does this by continuously removing the bottom row and putting it on top. This creates a perpetual pattern that has no end point.
Sometimes life can feel like that stack of Legos. We make goals at the beginning of each year with hope and determination, but too often end up merely rearranging the pieces of our lives in an endless cycle of futility. “Meaningless, meaningless” cried Solomon, the author of Ecclesiastes. “Everything is meaningless.” “What a wretched man I am!” groaned Paul in the book of Romans, “Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?”
“Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Christ Jesus our Lord!” Paul exclaims in the next breath. Here is the glorious, beautiful truth: Jesus has broken into our world, broken into our futility, and has laid before us a vision so grand, so transcendent, that we can never look at our lives the same way again. Suddenly we realize that we have been given purpose – something that both supersedes and encompasses our entire existence.
That laundry? Purposeful. I am clothing little people who bear the very image of a holy God. That rude customer? Purposeful. I can extend kindness and grace as a representative of a holy God. That Instagram post? Purposeful. I can be an encourager to the disheartened and display the beauty of a holy God.
That failure? Purposeful. It can form in me a gentle humility and compassionate heart. That intractable loneliness? Purposeful. He is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. That disappointment? Purposeful. Through it we learn gratitude and realize contentment. A “no” is often a necessary prelude to a better “yes”.
This life of faith is not a wistful hope for a distant future. No, it is a real, vital way of living in all the drudgery and pain of the here and now.
God is calling us to build something substantial with our Legos. He Himself is our cornerstone, and on that foundation He offers us the opportunity to build something that will last – a house of faith that can shelter others from the cold; a home where He can settle in as our closest companion. A sanctuary where we have the freedom to be our full and real selves without fear of condemnation. A place where the very patterns we thought were random turn out to be the building blocks of a holy legacy.