A couple of days ago, I woke up slightly agitated. I had contacted my mechanic the previous day to arrange an emergency drop off because all of sudden my car had been making a really loud noise in the front. Having a 17 year old car with over 200,000 miles on it, I’ve accepted that repairs here and there are a necessary evil. But so far, this evil has been far better than a monthly car note. Aside from the inconvenience of arranging rides, my bigger concern was the cost of repair. Being without steady employment, made me a bit anxious since I have to be really cautious about my money and had little room for the extra cost of a repair bill.
My agitation grew throughout the day as I waited to hear back from my mechanic. Normally, they are pretty good about assessing the problem and getting back to me with the estimate. I called them around 1:00 only to find that they hadn’t even looked at it yet. What? Immediately, my mind went to the arranging rides for the morning to get my son to school and me to school to take a final. Normally, they call before working on anything to let me know what needs to be done. The fact that they hadn’t even called by then made the possibility of not getting my car back a greater reality. But I still held out hope.
The drip from the toilet tanks and periodic rushing of water increased the agitation. I had put a work order in at least 3 times and stopped in the management office that morning to remind them of the job. It seemed like they were in cahoots with the mechanic! I tried to focus on the school work I needed to complete but could not stop being annoyed. No call from the mechanic. No one yet to fix my toilet. Just waiting and waiting and being annoyed.
Now you may be thinking how trivial and I agree. In the grand scheme of things, these are pretty inconsequential matters. And considering the bigger issues I’ve been dealing with in my life, I was getting annoyed with myself for being annoyed at such small things. And yet, as I strove to accomplish school work, I could not get rid of the restless waiting and growing annoyance. Stuff needed to get fixed and it was hanging in limbo.
By mid-afternoon, I was arranging a ride for the morning and resigned to the fact that I would have to hear the water noise from the toilet yet another day. Then came the knock at the door from the maintenance man. After about 1/2 hour there was no more noise. Yay! But I still had not heard from my mechanic. What on earth was taking so long? By 4:00, I called again. The response? We just finished up and your car is all set for pick up. Turns out that there was a minor adjustment that was needed and better yet, it only cost $41.
After I rearranged the rides for myself and my son, got home and started cooking dinner, I noticed something I’m not sure I would have thought of in the midst of this trivial drama. It occurred to me while I was cooking. The agitation from the day’s events had disappeared and I physically and mentally felt a great sense of relief, especially since the car repair was much less expensive than I thought it would be. I thought it odd considering how small these matters were in context of the bigger picture. But I was a bit overwhelmed at how much of a difference it made that what was broken and out of sorts, was now fixed.
In that moment, it occurred to me that if I felt that kind of relief over something so small, how much more will Christians feel the relief of living in the time when God makes all things new, fixes all things and erases every tension that we now experience of living in a broken world. That day, when all sickness, pain, trouble and evil is no more and the final enemy of death is conquered, we will live in redeemed bodies and experience relief beyond our wildest imagination.
In a way, this is kind of a follow up to what I wrote about disappointment. I don’t know if we can fully realize just how much the Fall has impacted life that has produced all kinds of disparities. I don’t think we can fully know just how much a difference it will make when all things are made new. We quote the passages. we acknowledge that the Fall has had an impact. We cite instances that demonstrate this tension is real. But I really question, if we really understand how great is the difference between now and then. This also made me realize how real and pressing disappointment can be in this life.
Not only that, but when the joys of relief in this life happen, it is but a tiny foretaste of things to come. Whatever joy we feel at the fixes of life, no matter how ecstatic they make us, it cannot compare to the future glory of everything made right. We can cherish these joys, no matter how small, as a reminder of a much better time ahead.