Saturday night we stayed at my dad’s house in Plano. Natalie was getting the kids ready for bed and I went to pick up some Pei-Wei for dinner. As I drove through the neighborhood around dusk, I found myself thinking about growing up there. I passed several houses of friends, teachers, acquaintances, crushes and even neighborhood rivals (other punk kids). My mind flashed with dozens of memories; some enjoyable and others regretful. It was a sobering drive. It was a good drive.
As I worked my way through the streets, a song by 100 Portraits & Waterdeep entered my heart, “You Have Redeemed My Soul” (Job 33:28-30). The words eventually came to my lips as I quietly breathed out the lines:
You have redeemed my soul from the pit of emptiness
You have redeemed my soul from death
I was a hungry child, A dried up river
I was a burned out forest, And no one could do anything for me
But you put food in my body, Water in my dry bed
And to my blackened branches you brought the springtime green of new life
And nothing is impossible for you
As I write this post, my son is asleep upstairs in what was my room growing up. My daughter is having a tea party in the living room with Mrs. Potts, Chip and a myriad of other characters. Natalie is remembering how to play the piano. I am quietly soaking it all in with a deep sponge of gratitude. Now, don’t be confused. My joy is not anchored in this fleeting moment of quiet simplicity. Our life is not a Norman Rockwell portrait. In fact, this is simply a moment amid the mess. My gratitude did not simply spring from the fact that I am married or that I have kids or that I am back in the house where I grew up. You can be married with kids and wax nostalgic and still live in the pit of emptiness. As I drove Saturday night and as I type Sunday morning, the source of my joy is in the salvation of my soul by the wondrous work of the Savior, Jesus Christ. His death and resurrection ensures that I am redeemed from death and brought to life. Now that I have been given the ability to see, I recognize that every good and perfect gift comes from above (James 1:17; Matthew 7:11) and I do not want to forget His benefits (Psalm 103). Salvation is sight, and grace sweetens life. He is the Sovereign Lord over all my memories, fleeting moments and eternal realities.