There Won’t Always be Candles in the Fireplace

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

By Alli Bauck

When my husband and I were newly married, we shared many aspirations for our first house. We spent hours watching home improvement shows and even sketching out blueprints. To have our plans become reality would be a dream come true!

In almost every house makeover episode we watched, the designers would give life to an outdated, grimy fireplace: cleaning it up and making it the focal point of the house, the heart of the home. In our dreams for our house, the fireplace held a special place in my heart. Our 30-year-old house didn’t have a functioning fireplace. I was envious of friends and family who had the “luxury” on cold, dreary days to light a fire and enjoy its warming glow.

As a young couple with little savings and a big list of projects, we had to get creative. At least a dozen pillar candles survived our wedding reception, and those leftovers seeded our temporary renovation project. Using a wrought iron stand, we arranged seven candles inside the fireplace. When lit, those ivory pillars hardly put off any heat, but their glow did provide a comforting ambience—a special touch—to the atmosphere of the room.

Our wedding reception was almost 10 years ago now. Leftover candles still adorn the fireplace. Our list of family needs outweighs the dream home projects. When the money has been available, the timing hasn’t been right. And when the timing is good, the money isn’t there. Add to the equation two time-consuming little additions to our lives, on a single income—and a pandemic that created inflated prices—and the dream seems in danger of being extinguished.

Some days this house feels like a metaphor for the world. There are good things that happen in it; and there are also bad things. There are happy times and memories made here; but there are also disappointments and sad times, too. Ultimately, this house—and this fallen world—give us only a fleeting glimpse of our true Home.

When the Word incarnate spoke the universe into existence, He knew perfection was temporary. When Adam and Eve were formed in the Garden, God already knew their paradise would not last. When Jesus came in the flesh to dwell among us, He knew He was not yet moving in for good. When we crucified Him, Jesus knew the tomb would not be His final resting place. When Jesus ascended into heaven, He knew this separation would not be permanent, but would one day be replaced with a new and eternal Home, where God promises to make all things new.

That New Creation is God’s final Renovation Project. In that Paradise renewed we will finally be at Home.

Even when your present and your future is uncertain, take heart: there won’t always be candles in the fireplace. For now, their flickering flames cast a reminder of hope. Someday soon Christ will return to complete what He began. Jesus Himself will draw us out of our dark and sinful days and into His glorious resurrection light.

Will the presence of Jesus feel like the familiar embrace of a loved one, wrapping us in the warm glow of His unconditional love? Will the New Creation remind us at all of our temporary housing while we waited and longed for His coming? What will it be like to know fully, even as we are fully known?

Only one thing is certain: Jesus has chosen a world fallen into disrepair, purchased it with His blood, and lovingly drawn up the blueprints of your future with Him. And His plans always come true.

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