We are living among boxes.
Just days after our home inspection was done and everything was set to move ahead with selling our house, I started packing little by little as strategically as possible.
But that strategy didn’t matter in the end, because our move was delayed about 2-1/2 weeks, so all those things I put in those boxes didn’t necessarily stay there.
For one thing, I didn’t expect to still be in this house when my daughter went off to camp. So, I had packed all the extra flashlights. And the sleeping bag. And the extra bug spray.
At first, it was a bit funny.
I packed up the extra school supplies one day and threw into the box a pink plastic protractor that I last used when I took geometry, oh about 23 years ago.
No one in this entire house has used this protractor in over two decades.
That very afternoon, though, my fifth grader came home from school, pulled out her math homework and asked, “Mom, do you have a protractor I can use?”
So, I did what I have become an expert at doing. I found the box, opened it back up, slipped my hand in and pulled out what she needed.
I’ve been “box fishing” for two months.
Most of the time, I can find an item in just one try. Every once in a while, I need to open two boxes to find the one I want.
But one day, after being at peace through this whole process, my son wanted a particular toy from a box. And I hunted. And searched. I opened box after box.
That’s what did me in. That’s the day I cried. That’s the day I told God, “This is hard and I’ve been beaten down.”
I did finally find those micro-machine tanks and airplanes he was looking for, but the emotional battle was a way bigger deal than any effort to find the right box.
That was about the time I wondered if we’d have to open all these boxes back up and put everything back where it came from without moving at all.
But today we got the phone call saying it’s all set. Papers will be signed. Money wired. More papers signed. Keys handed over.
This is it!
“Living among the boxes” is something I’ve done before just in different ways.
It’s about waiting rooms and transitions, about not knowing the outcome and not knowing the date on the calendar when a promise will be fulfilled.
It’s about leaving what you do know and stepping out into the unknown, maybe stumbling along the way.
Living among the boxes is a daily lesson in needing Jesus.
How easily I can be toppled into a pit of worry from a place of peace.
How easily discouragement and disappointment can wear a body right down.
But I think Jesus knows that. He knows how hard it is to hold onto hope when everything looks hopeless.
He knows what it’s like when God asks us to travel a road we’d rather not be on.
So when I cry for “mercy” and when I tell Him how another round of bad news has me reeling, I’m so thankful for His compassion.
He doesn’t always snap His fingers and fix everything perfectly in that second, but He does minister to my hurt with the encouragement I desperately need.
He did this for Jairus, too. When Jairus asked Jesus to please come and heal his daughter, Jesus followed him right away. But there was a delay.
So, Jairus’s daughter died.
While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”36 But overhearing] what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe. (Mark 5:35-36 ESV).
Jairus received the worst possible news, but Jesus’ words were what he needed to hold onto hope even in the impossible:
Do not fear, only believe.
We all have hard days. We have worn-out days and sad days and I-just-want-to-give-up-days.
Jesus told the disciples what to do on those days and it echoes with familiarity:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1 ESV).
Do not fear, only believe.
I don’t think Jesus meant this as a “buck up and just have some faith kind of speech.”
I think He knew what Jairus needed, what the disciples needed, and what we truly need: Comfort. Reassurance. Hope.
Don’t be afraid.
Yes, this is scary, but do not fear.
Just keep your eyes on me and believe.