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Faith Focus: Inward renewal

When I moved to Waco in 2008, one of the more distinctive landmarks in downtown Waco was the pair of large rusting grain silos near the “grease pit” row of fast food chains off Interstate 35. The silos, which had sat unused for years, stood as unfortunate metaphors for a once-proud city whose best days were seemingly behind it.

Then Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of the hit show “Fixer Upper,” announced their plans to buy both silos and the surrounding land in order to build a marketplace for home improvement, interior decorating and "Fixer Upper" merchandise. 

With the backing of the city government, local community and "Fixer Upper" fans everywhere, the Gaineses spent the better part of a year turning that patch of abandoned land into a decorator’s Disneyland complete with food trucks, a children’s play area and a bakery serving some of the best cupcakes in central Texas. Magnolia Marketplace, aka “The Silos,” is now one of the biggest tourist attractions in the nation, drawing upwards of 1.5 million guests per year.

Yet when you drive through Waco, you wouldn’t be able to see any of that from I-35. Just the same old silos. There’s been no update to the silos themselves, no modernization or fresh coat of paint. Despite the city government’s urging, the Gaineses insisted they remain as is. 

The silos still look exactly the same today as they did in 2008, the original paint job continuing to chip away, the exposed metal getting a little rustier with every rainstorm. Only by stepping inside Magnolia’s sprawling complex can you see the renewal that’s occurred.

At some point, everyone starts to feel like the way those silos look — beaten down by circumstances, abandoned by better times. When the world is cruel and life is unfair, it becomes tempting to think that there is no hope for the future, that you are condemned to keep taking life’s punches until they knock you out once and for all.

But for believers in Christ, God promises inward renewal even in the face of outward turmoil. His mercies are new every morning, which means even when your struggles feel meaningless and your sorrows seem unnoticed, the truth is that God is ministering to you in your pain — and may even be giving you the opportunity to minister to others through it.

Jesus’s empty tomb serves as a promise to every Christian that there is no degree of suffering that cannot be redeemed by God. So when all you can see is the visible ugliness, may God give you eyes to see the glorious work he’s doing within.

So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. - 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Written by Daniel Camp, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Crawford, Texas. 

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