Ever since we first saw this house from the street, we knew we’d want to cut down those bushes. But it would be September before we’d get out front and actually put a blade to the stubborn stalks. Jason and our boy, now big enough to hold the cutters, and I, we all get on our knees and cut and pull and drag those wiry branches to the edge of the street. And when it’s all clear and only stubs showing through the dirt, we step back to admire our sweaty work.
The bushes are cleared and that should be better.
In places where your eye used to see green leaves, you now look to the spot where years of drought and flood shifting have moved this wall enough to break the mortar and the bricks right through. There’s no hiding this big break right down the center of the wall.
It’s no wonder they let those bushes grow unruly.
So, now, the postman and the house guests and the neighbors can all see it in plain sight. I’m sure they’re all wondering why we tore down those bushes.
I must say that this is what I see when I see my life with Christ in plain sight too. The worse is first.
It gets worse before it gets better.
Moses had his own bush, telling him to tell Pharaoh to free God’s people. And he listened and obeyed and he expected.
But first, it was worse.
Pharaoh’s temper rises at the mere suggestion and so does his fist. ‘Harder! Faster! More! Now!’
Israel’s back feels like it will break. They cry to Moses and mock the bush. ‘This? This is helpful? No, this is WORSE!’
And Moses thinks he misunderstood. ‘Why did you ever send me?’ he questions. ‘You haven’t done a thing that you promised.’ (Exodus 5)
First, it looks worse.
First, it looks like it’s falling apart because something actually is. There is brokenness behind these bushes and there are things that need more than mending within Israel, within Moses, within me. And that is the point of it looking worse first before it looks any better.
When all I can see is that it’s gotten worse, it’s most likely a sign that He is working. And it’s most likely that most of the work is inside of me.
So, for all the bushes that have spoken to you, all of Christ’s callings you’ve thought you’ve heard and tried hard to follow, take heart!
Walk behind Moses and don’t expect it to all piece together at first.
It’s not for certain, but it’s a safe bet: first, it will be worse.
If you are Christ’s, He will put your life together and finally bring you home by the end of the story.
And you will be all the better for making it through the worst of it.