The building towered above me. Squares of glass stretched up and out to either side, broken only by the large symbols that gave it its name: 5255. An unfeeling name for a place that holds a trove of emotions.
I’d been here before. As I circled the crowded parking lot with my five-year old in the back seat, I was transported back in time. Eight years ago I was alone—well, not really. I scanned the parking spaces until I rejoiced to find an opening in the front. “Parking reserved for Pregnant and New Mothers.” Jackpot. I clutched my purse and slid out of the driver’s seat, eager for my first appointment with my new obstetrician.
Little did I know how often I’d return to this same parking lot—to this same building. How many times would I repeat this dance around its painted lines? A future I didn’t know ran far ahead of me, knitting my life’s events together in ways I couldn’t imagine just then.
I entered that building dozens of times as both of my boys grew in my womb. I witnessed their little flips, kicks, and growing bodies before my eyes. I waited in wonder and hope for the new blessings that would come to our family.
Yet as much as that rigid building gave, it also took. Years later I’d tepidly walk hand in hand with my husband to a waiting room before the fifth surgery of my life. I would wake up, smothered by heavy blankets while my teeth chattered and my eyes expelled tears from pain. I’d tell myself that I couldn’t do this ever again. But I would. I’d enter the very same building five years later for surgery number six.
Now, as I circle the parking lot with my youngest in the backseat, the building beside us shifts into more than concrete, glass, and steel. It’s a piece of my own life—a mighty oak that rises in the midst of my path that I continue to circle round. And I wonder at the connection of it all.
I wonder at myself—the woman who walked into that revolving door countless times through the years. The same woman, but also not the same. She walked in altered each time. Different worries, different fears, different hopes. I think of the tears, the hurt, and the growth that came through each swing of the door. But most of all, I think of the God who walked in with her. I think of the Lord who held her hand and dried her eyes.
And I wonder if on that first day I walked into my prenatal appointment, God was moved with love for the journey he’d take me on between those walls. I wonder if my Savior’s heart wept along with my own tear-stained prayers for operations he knew wouldn’t be the last.
And I wonder if he was moved to compassion as I watched my youngest wiggle on the ultrasound screen, knowing five years later I’d trek through the same building guiding that little boy to his appointment for a disease he’ll battle for a lifetime. I wonder if that day the Holy Spirit prayed for my own heart to be prepared for the future we didn’t know he’d walk us through.
Building 5255. A simple four-walled structure. We see them every day. Yet this one holds so much more for me. It rises as a monument in my own life. Echoes of these kinds of monuments fill the Old Testament. They connect the story of generations into one beautiful story of God’s faithfulness. The oaks of Mamre, Horeb, Mount Moriah, Bethel. 1 Physical places where God’s people circled back through the years, filling the space with deeper meaning and reminders of the God who continually does what he promises.
So too for me, building 5255 proclaims the redemption of the Lord. The walls reach up as a memorial the Lord saw fit to weave into my life. Some knots are more tangled than others, and to be honest I fear I’ve not yet seen it all. But my Lord has.
And as I put my car in park, and begin to walk in with my five-year old, I can be certain we aren’t alone. My Lord grips tight to my other hand. He knows the burden of that building’s past as well as its future. And as tears form in my eyes, I believe he feels the same. Of course he sees the completed story—the beautiful redemption, grace, and growth that will come from these returns to difficulty. Yet as with Lazarus, 2 I believe he too weeps with me right now—as he holds my hand and guides his little girl back to the building that whispers his faithfulness amidst the ache of suffering.
What places does our Lord guide you to again and again? Can you see his faithfulness? Can you feel the grip of his hand? Hold tight to it, friend.
- Mamre: Gen. 13:18, Gen. 14:13, Gen. 18; Horeb: Ex. 3:1, Dt. 5:2, Dt. 18:16; Moriah: Gen. 22, 2 Sam. 24:16-25; Bethel: Gen. 28:10-22, Genesis 31:13, Judges 20:18-28, 1 Kings 12:28-33, 2 Kings 2:2, Amos 7:10-13
- John 11
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