Do we ever doubt the power of God?
We've all had those wonderful experiences resting in His presence on a Sunday morning. The music lifts the poetry of our praise to the heavens like incense coolly rising from the ash and embers. We rejoice looking toward the sky. Our eyes might see stage lighting and the soft color of faraway stucco but none of these can distract us from our upward gaze and serene worship.
But what if the ceiling fell out?
I was looking at the drop ceiling in our largest room at the church, the room where we've been gathering on Sunday mornings. The heavy plaster was drooping, pulling at sagging concrete like an impetuous child on a tired mothers arm. We spoke with the landlord and removed the ornate canopy. As relieving as it was to see the heavy blanket above our heads gone it exposed a network of cricks and cracks. We roped off the sanctuary and moved into the smaller room, packing in like sardines in the hottest, most humid time of year.
The landlord promised he would come and make the repairs. Days joined days forming weeks. Nearly a month passed on the promise that he was coming. Every day I looked up at that ceiling nervously; that larger room, enviously; the electrical sockets and fans we'd installed, longingly.
One sweaty Sunday after service a large piece broke free from its rusty rebar prison and smashed with its full force into the tile below. I felt my heart sink and shatter like the bludgeoned ceramic tile.
And then something miraculous happened! The building owner flew into action. He rushed to the church with a crew of workmen with new support beams and hardhats, who immediately began tearing away the dilapidated roof.
Looking up from our sanctuary and seeing blue sky was worshipful. That sagging ceiling had hung heavily around my shoulders, worrying me about what might happen if a piece rained down during worship; questioning, even after we'd roped off the area if a child might wander in under the precarious roofing. In a small, almost excusable way, I had begun to doubt. A snowball effect of more unlikely events that exposed the cracks in my own belief. As if the building were falling down around us my heart began to question if we would ever see revival.
And then the ceiling fell out.
Something that should have sunk my emotions deeper opened up the heavens, like an open window exposing the limitless power of God. I stood there looking through the open ceiling of our church with all my doubt laid bare. I'd felt like the people of Israel returned home from exile to a kingdom with no king, a promised land with barren vines. They sat in their homes doubting the power of God and started robbing the Lord of their tithe, their worship, their trust.
And then the word of God broke through the ceiling of the heavens. Through His prophet Malachi He threw down a concrete declaration challenging their doubt, challenging their faith. He called His people to bring in their tithe and offering, to step out in faith and believe.
And God still challenges us today. He calls to believe, to trust, to hope. Even now Jesus is creating windows through peeling plaster and bending rebar to pour down His blessings, His promises, revival. We rejoice in the broken, even as we rejoice in the rebuilding. We rejoice as we wait for the floodgates to burst through and the Lord pours out revival.