Jesus arrives not with a ladder for us to climb out of creation, but a shovel He’ll use to dig up the wicked root of our sin within creation. And in its place, He’ll plant the sacrificial love of God, burying His own body like a seed deep in the death of our world, cracked open to bring new life rising up from creation’s broken heart.
— Joshua Ryan Butler, The Pursuing God, 209.
We look up at the small blue circle there,
The roof of our self-excavated hole,
And wonder how or if we’ll breathe the air
Beyond this dirt-dacha of moping moles.
Rescue comes, but hope is once seen then stole’,
For a shovel and no ladder descends
And the blue above seems as black as coal.
But Rescue digs, His arms and back bend
Replacing a root with Self—vine-seed—out to wend.
The germinating seed sends shoots skyward;
Among its leaves we’re grafted and brought out
Of dirt-dark to blue-sky-light—free—upward,
Transforming grief into triumphant shout
The hole we dug became the Victor’s rout
Over the rank filth we once wallowed in
And the blue roof turns ashen with rain clouds
Whose drops fall on us, all the dirt is cleansed
By Rescue’s joy whose healthy sunshine will not end.
The Yankee catcher once pointedly quipped,
“It’s so crowded no one goes anymore.”
You tried to go home once, but couldn’t slip
Past all the pressing crowd; neither could four
Men bearing their precious burden: sin-sore,
Immobile brother seeking grace-release.
They dug a hole, unroofed the roof—new door!—
And heard the Savior say, “Go now in peace!
My door and roof open, come often as you please!”
Divinity is in the details, no
Place for the Devil to work therein.
Jesus’ domain is “It happened just so”;
The Devil finds no room to work within.
The Sovereign King, unstained by any sin,
Delights, decrees, accomplishes His will.
By mercy, He becomes the sinner’s friend,
Ordaining all the means that will fulfill
His perfect KIngdom; so, fearful heart: Peace, be still.
“The glory of Your face let me behold!”
Atop Mount Sinai Moses made his plea;
His faithfulness to Yahweh made him bold,
But “Yes” to him was not Yahweh’s decree.
Before His face is no place of safety.
But “Yes” in diff’rent form did Moses hear:
His back as He passed by He let him see
His name, “I AM,” proclaimed as He drew near
Holy Shekinah shining forth both bright and clear.
Five thousand men and wives and children, too
With bellies full of borrowed fish and bread
Denied the chance to force Jesus to rule
He sent the Twelve across the lake instead.
While Jesus prayed, they became filled with dread;
A storm assailed the boat; the waves were high.
He was no midnight ghost, no scene misread,
But Jesus intended to pass them by.
I AM got in, said, “Fear not; it is I.”