| |

It Is What It Is, But It Is Not What It Shall Be

It is what it is. I read it on a cubicle wall. It’s a country-craft sign with large, cursive script, a script to make one curse. Words to echo the curse. The sign is made to look like it was made on a farm, but it was made in China. And not on a farm in China. The smooth, shimmering surface lies about its age. It’s made to appear older with new-painted fading, meticulously manufactured cracks, and fabricated years. An inverted aging starlet. It is intentionally distressed and so am I. But, I suppose, it is what it is. This sign that transports me to a funeral, a child’s sickbed, an accident scene. It is what it is.

It is what it is. It is a statement of resignation. After all kinds of trouble, worry, and fear, there it sits. We can live with such a statement, but not forever.

It is what it is. Is it?

It is what it is, but it is not what it shall be.

Children will not someday die, someday. Cancer will not reduce and end us like a berserker army invading every border, swallowing our hallowed map. It is what it is, but it is not what it shall be.

There’s good all over and grace in every breath. It is today and we are alive and so we ought to happily receive these gifts all over. Gratitude should be our theme song.

Thank God it’s Friday, but Someday’s coming.

We wrestle with the Not Yetness of things. With the good, broken, incompleteness of everything. We can receive a cold valley with thanks and still long for the sun.

It is what it is. But all the same, we long for it to be different. We long for it to not be all the same. Or, we long for it to be the same, but different. Like our best friends, we want them fully themselves. We want the fully realized valley. Sun and all. We want the valley on the edge of forever to slide on over.

It is what it is, but it is not what it shall be. Some day, when Someday comes, we will slide on over into the re-Edened earth. Sunrise.

This bought by Brother’s blood,
And so our family seal,
Runs red across a guarantee,
Of Father’s glad goodwill.
From me, my sons, sin you get,
An inherited curse.

From a Greater Father, you may claim,
All of the reverse.

All of the reverse. In that day, It is what it is will be fully and finally undone, by:

I Am Who I Am.

Photo by Larry Fellows


  1. Excellent thoughts here! As the narrative of our lives becomes more and more intertwined with God’s Story, we will become more and more aware of “harmless” statements like “It is what it is” and will no longer allow this faulty thinking to seep into our living letter we are writing (our poiema as Michael Card called it I think). http://lyrics.wikia.com/Michael_Card:The_Poem_Of_Your_Life

  2. Sam, Here’s a comment I got from a friend of mine when I shared this post on Facebook:

    Eddy, I have been saying this for awhile now to suggest an acceptance of our current circumstances, not just giving in to it all..but believing that God is in every moment of life, no matter what. But I really like this view…and now will add the “not what it shall be” to make the phrase have real impact on those who will listen. God makes our lives so full and we can praise Him through it ALL!

  3. Powerful words and thoughts! I’m looking forward to the great “reverse.” Your words remind me of the prophet Joel’s writings where God says he will restore what the locust has eaten, and a passage in Revelation where God says he will make all things right. So many hurts here in this life, but what great hope that God will someday make all the injustices right! Thanks for the reminder that there’s more to come.

  4. Sam, I just have to share with you that this is speaking profoundly to me today. I’m slumping in my cubicle at work, trying not to cry (tears of renewed hope and joy)…

    I was driving to work this morning with my head full of terribly morbid “what-ifs?”. What if my baby dies? What if I get cancer? What if my husband dies? What if that truck crosses into my lane and crushes me?

    And for some reason my thoughts kept on to “Right now… someone is being murdered… Someone is committing murder… There are people in this world who live without any regard for the sacredness of Creation and the Creator… Someone is dying without having known the Love of Christ…” It was a flood of doubt and worry, and I’m ashamed to say I lose control of my thoughts in this way too often. I shuddered and prayed, “God, I want to trust you. Please give me peace. Convict me in your Love, fill me with your Hope of Glory, and deliver me from Satan’s lies.”

    I’ve been feeling SO burdened with the weight of the world’s brokenness (and my own)…which makes me painfully aware of my shameful lack of faith. But your words lift me up and remind me:

    “In that day, It is what it is will be fully and finally undone, by:

    I Am Who I Am.”

    Ugh. (Guilt-ridden, downcast spirit gone. In come conviction, repentance, hope.) Yes. YES! Praise You, Lord!!

    I will say again what I said at Hutchmoot. You have a GIFT for communicating powerful truths, powerfully. You know how James Taylor has this understated yet soul-piercing way of writing, singing, and playing? (I hope you do!) I think you might be the James Taylor of writing (and teaching). The quiet way you go about sharing such meaningful insights requires the reader not just to read, but to LISTEN.

    My soul hears and feels the truth and beauty of your words. And it needed this. They are God’s answer to the prayer I prayed this morning. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  5. Kristen! I don’t know what to say. That is one of the most encouraging things I’ve read in a long while. Goodness. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    And, I share the same kinds of worries myself, and long for more and more faith in future grace and conquering love to courageously face the world as it is as I long for the world to come.

  6. I’m glad you’re encouraged! And I just have to thank you again for sharing… I’ve not been able to get this post out of my head and heart! I think I’m going to be hanging onto it for a good long while. I might even have to print it out so I can read it daily alongside scripture. That might seem extreme, but I wasn’t exaggerating when I mentioned my struggle against the burden of the fallen world and my fallen nature… it’s been a big deal in my walk with God for the past year or so. I’m really tired of it… like, physically tired. Anyway, I don’t know why these truths are resounding in my heart and head at this particular time, but I thank God for it! And I thank Him for giving you such a gift.

    Anyway, let me know when you have a printed collection of your works… I will buy it! 🙂 And tell your wife hi and that I’m thinking of her as she carries around that teeny, precious gift for the next few months! So awesome… I love babies.

  7. Thank you again, Kristen. I’m delighted these few words that came to me like a little gift have been a gift to you.

    I’ll pass along your greeting to Gina. We’re excited for our little GIRL to come.

    Can I recommend a book to you? Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl by ND Wilson. If you haven’t read it, I believe it would be right up your alley.

    Peace to you.

  8. I read this piece years ago on the Rabbit Room, and this evening I found myself thinking about it again. Thank the good Lord for the wonders of google and blog archives. I needed these words so very deeply (both then and now). Thanks for writing them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.