A time in your life when something was killed – a dream, a relationship, a hope – is now being redefined and restored. The memories of sorrow will give way to something new. The stench of death and loss will be replaced with the fragrance of life and restoration.
As an 8-year old boy, most of my life took place within a mile of my home. My grade school, Mr. Dandanelli’s orchard, the neighborhood market and my best friend Ronnie’s house were all within this small circle of boyhood reality. I always thought it was a perfect neighborhood until one day I heard some adults talking about a murder that had taken place. Someone was killed in one of the houses I rode by each day on my Schwinn bicycle in route to school.
From that day forward, each day I pedaled past the now-vacant house, I sped up and kept quiet. I didn’t know how to process death, murder, and vacancy. The house remained empty for several years filled only with the hollow sound that death brings to a place once filled with the sounds of life. Over time, I grew up and moved on with my life and just this week, recalled the memory of that house. I felt the recollection was given to me to write these words.
This morning, I went on Google Earth and actually found the house. I was surprised it was still there. A new family now lives within its walls. The trees are much larger. Cars are parked in the driveway. I am not sure the occupants know what took place there over 50 years ago. Life had returned to a place of death.
Some of you have experienced a form of death at the hands of another person. They killed your career. Killed your dream. Killed the hope that was growing in your heart. Those places have remained vacant and filled with memories of sorrow, betrayal, and death. Like the house in my neighborhood where the murder took place, God has a plan to fill that part of your life with something new. The coming new life will overshadow and displace the memories of the past. The sounds of joy and laughter will return.
As a boy, I called the house where the death took place, The Murder House. Now the once vacant place of death and sorrow is a home where a family resides with hopes and dreams and the promise of a new future. As you look at your personal Murder House never forget that life always has authority over death. You serve a restoring God. He is about to restore what was lost and bring back the sounds of life and joy to the neighborhood of your life.