By Vanessa Rasanen
I am an expert at crib assembly. Each new baby and each move has meant tearing down and reassembling that piece of furniture, to the point that I’ve now gotten so much practice in the process I can put it together by myself without injuring the toddlers who are “helping” me by being completely in the way.
And it looks like I’ll be assembling some new baby furniture in the near future.
This weekend brought my family the blessed news we are expecting another baby. This in turn brought a whole slew of emotions from joy and worry to anxiety and hope. This hope of a new life coming into the world and into our family includes a massive checklist of all we must do to prepare. There are people to tell, money to save, products to research and plans to be made. Through all the months of waiting and marveling, we stay busy and fret over rooms getting ready and bags getting packed, car seats getting purchased and birth plans being written. So much to do and tackle and finish.
This is how our temporal life works. Changes happen. Seasons shift. And we plan as best we can — researching, saving and checking off to-do lists. Some of us love this, thriving on the feeling of being prepared and in control — even if we know deep down it’s just an illusion. Then some of us become overwhelmed and stressed with everything on our list. No matter how many items we complete and check-off, there is no end to all we need to do. I’m feeling this now and I’ve only been pregnant for a few days!
So here I am with so much hope and joy for this new life God has created. Yet I’m bogged down with all I must do. Take my prenatals. Move the youngest out of our bedroom. Potty train our preschooler. Finish the baby book for the soon-to-not-be-the-baby-anymore baby. Find an obstetrician (since I don’t want to drive to my midwives anymore — so. much. driving. Ugh!) Create a birth plan. Buy a new car seat. Find a new stroller. Get the house ready to sell. Pay off the minivan. Fix the suburban. And the list just goes on and on and on.
This hope we have in this new little life is awesome and a blessing — it is a wonderful gift of promise and wonder… but with so many must-do and to-be-completed strings attached to it, it seems.
Regardless of all the to-dos weighing me down right now, though, I find great comfort in the hope that comes with no strings, no lists and no assembly of anything required.
That is the hope we have in Christ.
It is a hope in a new life where our sins are wiped clean, our tears wiped away and our burdens unloaded. In Christ crucified for us we have a hope for a life eternal with our God who loves us so greatly, so richly, so wonderfully He requires nothing from us to achieve it. In Christ we have salvation, freely given. We don’t need to check-off any boxes, finish enough bible studies, do enough community service, give enough money or say enough prayers.
We simply believe. And even that isn’t of our own doing, but is a gift from the Holy Spirit through His Word (Romans 10:17). That belief He gives leads us to repentance and drives us to confession, to the waters of Holy Baptism, to the Lord’s Table and to His Word over and over and over as we hope and wait for His return. We don’t need to finish anything, because Christ has finished it all on the cross and with His resurrection. And while our hope may be countered with a bit of worry here and a dash of doubt there, we take heart in remembering Christ has ascended. He has conquered death and the devil. He is already victorious over our sin and He rules over this world — even when He tells us to wait just a little while (John 13:33) until He brings life everlasting with His return.
So we wait. We wait, and we rest in this hope we have in Christ, praising His name and thanking Him for all the blessings He provides during this wait — blessings of His Word and Sacraments, as well as the blessings of daily bread and each new neighbor He gives us to serve here on earth…
… even when it means re-assembling that crib one. more. time.