There is a rather unsightly crack in my kitchen ceiling. I’ll admit, it has been there for a couple of years—a sign of a foundation issue caused by leaking water. The foundation work has been done, but we probably will have to look at that crack until we get around to remodeling our kitchen—someday when the finances are right. There are times when I am weary of seeing this ugly reminder of imperfection, something I can’t control. This crack, however, is a lot like other unsightly reminders in life, reminders of foundational cracks in a fallen world.
The Cracks of Life
While I am looking forward to having a blemish-free ceiling one day, I am ecstatic about one day having a crack-free life. This dream, however, will only be realized when Christ returns. For now, we are living under the curse of sin set in motion by Adam and Eve’s rebellion in the garden. They wanted to be “like God,” and because of their rebellion, we not only deal with the sins of others on a daily basis, but the consequences of our own sin. We now fear not only the cruelty and selfishness of others, but the sin in our own hearts. The fall of Adam and Eve leaves us with the certainty mentioned by Christ in John 16 when he says, “In this life you will have tribulation . . . “(John 16:33).
Much of the time, I try to ignore the consequences of the fall. I don’t want to accept that sin and suffering are not only a problem, but a promise in this life. As a public school teacher, I am often increasingly aware of the “cracks” all around me. In any given year, I will have students who are hungry, addicted, abused, homeless, and more. It means I will make a phone call for suicide prevention several times a year and maybe even a neglect or abuse call to Child Protective Services. And while I worry about the climbing crime rate in my hometown, and the indulgent and sometimes dark society we live in, I also am keenly aware of the areas of disharmony in my church and home due to the selfishness and discontentedness of our own hearts.
It’s true, cracks are everywhere. And as a mom, it can be hard not to fear those cracks. We all want to protect our children from illness, cruelty, and evil. We want our children to be safe and comfortable. So, we labor hard to protect them from the cracks of life, from the people and circumstances we fear. The flu virus, bullies, stray dogs, kidnappers, and those that will lead them astray are constantly on our minds. I know, for myself, these fears can consume me. Sometimes, I dream of moving to the country where I can live in a cocoon with my young family—free from the troubles of the world around me.
Now that my children are navigating public school, whether it be elementary or middle school, I find myself fearing new cracks. I want to protect my children from discomfort and heartache. When I hear about the challenges my boys encounter each day, I want a guarantee that they will always encounter trustworthy adults and studious peers. I want to protect them from failure, broken relationships, and sorrow. I want their life to be easy and care-free. I don’t want them exposed to the cracks of life I know so well.
But I know that in trying to hide from these ugly realities, I am forgetting the truth of the gospel. Jesus came to save sinners—not the healthy—and we fit this definition ourselves.
Embracing the Cracks
As 1 Timothy 1:15 explains, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” This is an excellent reminder that Jesus sought out “cracks” instead of hiding from them. If the Pharisees asked the disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Matthew 9:11), why shouldn’t others ask this of me or my children?
Wherever God places us in our lives, we are all called to embrace cracks in ourselves and others. After all, we are cracked vessels, made whole through our Savior. As we follow Christ’s example of reaching out to the lost and broken around us, the gospel shines through us. We must ask ourselves who God might have for us and our children to serve or befriend. As a mother who has spent many a sleepless night worrying about all of the harm that could come to my children in this broken world, I always come back to my faith in “the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2) who knows what tomorrow holds and calls me to trust Him with my life and that of my children.
Sure, a life that embraces opportunities to encounter the messiness of this fallen world is scary. Embracing life’s uncertainty leaves me and my family vulnerable to many unknown dangers. But in trying to avoid the “cracks” in life, I miss out on many blessings—whether it’s watching my child’s friend hear the gospel for the first time, praying for unbelieving friends and neighbors, or just walking beside those who are lonely or hurting.
That crack in my kitchen ceiling is a reminder of life in a fallen world. I am not at home here, nor should I want to be. I long for Heaven, the only true utopia, and until I get there, God will use the cracks, even the ugliest ones, to bring me, my children, and others we meet along the way to Christ—the only true healer of all that is cracked and broken.
About the Author:
Jessica Roan has a Bachelor’s Degree in English Education from Oklahoma Baptist University and a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Montana State University-Billings. She is a high school English teacher, mentor and blogger. She can be found at email@example.com. She enjoys writing, hiking, skiing and traveling. She lives in Billings, Montana with her husband and two boys. Her home church is Rocky Mountain Community Church.