“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” –Romans 8:17

     A couple years ago my family decided to remodel the entire first floor of our house. At the time we had an older relative of the family planning to live with us so we wanted to make his living arrangements elderly accessible. We started the tear down process almost immediately and it wasn’t long before what we’ve always known became a bare skeleton of dry wall and wooden posts.

        I can still remember what it looked like before: the crumbly, white-flowered wall paper, the tiled kitchen floor, the orange tire-shaped foot cushion in the living room, that bulbous television, the pantry with canned food and tools that was always freezing cold even in the summer, and the exact placement of the bathroom. When I was younger that was the only home I knew. And though I’m sure others in my family did not think this, I thought nothing could get any better than it.

       I loved canning peaches in that kitchen, the way it made the air sticky and sweet with the smell of syrup. I loved watching Jeopardy and Family Feud in that living room. I loved the family lunches of vegetable soup during the fall.

       Now our downstairs has a plush carpet, an entertainment center, and a bathroom with a standing shower. My mom got the kitchen she has always wanted with hand-crafted, wooden cabinets and a brand-new dish washer (finally!). There are new walls with fresh paint, new floors, and a new foundation—one that is much stronger than the last.

        Those old houses that creak when the wind blows, that shake when it thunders, their foundations are not being taken care of. Our house was like that. And now it stands firmer in its place because we took the time to build it up.

         But first, we had to tear it down.

        C.S. Lewis wrote this in his book, Mere Christianity:

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

     Paul wrote the book of Romans with four different purposes. One of these was to declare that if we have faith in Jesus, we are freed from sin, given a new life, and returned to that relationship that God has always wanted to have with us.

But what does that kind of life look like?

We are told that when we accept Jesus into our hearts that we become another being in Christ.

     Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m being made into a castle. Most days I think I am still that house with leaky faucets and broken windows. That type of thinking, however, is where hope and faith comes in.

      Paul writes, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18).

The entirety of Romans 8 claims that we must not look at what is happening to us, but FEEL what is happening in us.

       “And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit interceded for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:27-28).

        This isn’t a promise that bad things won’t happen to us. This is a promise that God will still be there when they do. And He will always work for our benefit, moving us steadily to His ultimate plan for us.

         I loved my old house and the memories of what it looked like. My family and I had many good memories there. But now we have a new house, one that will hold even more precious gifts and moments than the first. At one point it was only a shell of ripped-out boards and tiles. Looking at the new creation, no one could have guessed what it had to go through to be more beautiful and stronger.

About the Author: 

Ellie Zumbach is currently a student at Malone University studying Creative Writing and Theatre. From a very young age, she has loved stories and their power to encourage, teach, and inspire. She is a proud member of a drama ministry team known as the Chancel Players and a co-director of the Writers Guild on campus.  Welcome Ellie as she shares her words with “Memoirs of a Virtuous Woman” readers as an intern for Fall 2017.

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