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Undone: Book Excerpt 2
Now Featured at the Patheos Book Club
When Coming Apart Puts You Back Together
By Laura Sumner Truax
Book Excerpt #2
Throughout the stories of the Bible God is consistently seeing people simultaneously as who they are right now and who they are emerging to be. Designed to be. Destined to be.
Where others saw Sarah as a barren old woman, God saw her as the matriarch of a great nation. Where some viewed him as a stuttering orphan or a lucky refugee, God saw Moses as the leader who will be used to free a nation. Where his father, Jesse, and his brothers only saw an awkward teenaged shepherd, God saw David as the man to restore the nation of Israel.
And where the disciple could only see his failure, Jesus was already promising Peter that his future meant that he would be the rock (from the literal Greek Petra) on which the church would be built. God sees us as we are. And at the very same time, God sees our past choices and why we made them and where they may lead-what was bad, what was even worse and what was good. God takes it all and puts it to use right this second, using it all to reveal what our future could be.
God sees who we are becoming—what is being called forth. God sees the arc of the future, happening every second as the present moment gives way to the next moment. There . . . now there . . . now there . . . as the present continues to step aside to receive the emerging future.
God dwells in this place of tension and asks us to dwell in it as well. To live in that place means we have to do the hard work of letting go of the past in order to embrace the future—at every opportunity. I know what it costs. That doesn't prevent me from longing to still have this wonderful version of myself simply arrive at the door by UPS. I want the outcome, but can't I be spared the hardness, the fatigue, the discipline of getting there? Can't we be spared the tension? No. We can't.
And in my experience neither can we do this kind of work alone, in isolation. We need others to do this with us. People who can encourage the new and witness the passing of the old.
We need the church. And by that I mean, the community of the church: a group of people committed and bearing witness to the reality of now, but not yet. A group of people who don't pontificate or judge or correct. A group of people whose first instinct is to have your back. That's right. People who say, We have your back. A church where people are committed to loving you as you emerge into something new.
Because to become new people, we have to be free enough to fail. And so does everyone else.
The church that Jesus imagined is one where everybody gets a second chance and a third chance, and fiftieth and hundredth chances. It's a place that doesn't make sense from the outside. Where the way up is to be a servant, where we unleash power not through flexing our strength, but through exposing our vulnerabilities. Where people are willing to risk investing in one another because more than anything they want that large future they have sensed on the horizon out ahead of them. They want to be people leaning forward with the sun in their face and the wind at their back, eager and expectant.