I don’t think God’s ever had a day when He thought “well, I never saw that one coming”.
Even though we may have.
Even though things seem messy. And uncertain. And hopeless.
Andy Stanley writes:
If we asked Jesus’ disciples months after he was crucified what their darkest moment had been following Jesus and when they had the least hope, I believe they would have answered, “It was when we realised things weren’t going to get better, when he promised us things would get worse, when he predicted that one of us would betray him and that all of us would fall away. It was when he was tried and convicted and we saw him die. It was when we thought we had wasted our time and that God wasn’t there.
If we asked them, When do you think God was doing his greatest work? Was it healing the lame guy, healing the blind, or seeing Lazarus step out of his tomb? I believe they would answer, “Actually, it was during those hours when it seemed he was doing the least. In those darkest moments, when it seemed God was inactive, he was actually the most active.” Those hours were the epicentre of the salvation of humankind. Those hours were the ones that, for thousands of years, people all over the world have looked back to, rejoicing in God’s goodness and grace….
God’s most amazing work often begins in the biggest messes, in times of brokenness.”
(Andy Stanley “God is Certain” in Craig Groeschel (ed) What God is Really Like pp 51-52)
Around two thousand years ago today, one of the greatest tragedies unfolded. Little did they know then that this was the seed of one of the greatest victories in history, setting into motion an outpouring of grace that would bring great spiritual blessings for generations to come.
In the most uncertain of times, in the midst of great hopelessness, God is performing the greatest of miracles.
I read this recently which really spoke to me about how we, as a Christian community, ought to treat our fellow believers. It’s by John Burke (pastor of Gateway Church) in an essay entitled “God is For You” in Craig Groeschel (ed) What is God Really Like (pp 68ff):
Jesus gave his life so that every willing person could be restored into right relatedness with God by grace. He did it so that we would all let God lead us daily to become the masterpiece he intended. What if we created a culture focused on calling out the masterpiece God sees waiting to be revealed in Christ?
If you found a Rembrandt painting covered in mud, you wouldn’t focus on the mud or treat it like mud. Your primary concern would not be the mud at all, though it would need to be removed. You’d be ecstatic to have something so valuable in your care. I’ll bet you wouldn’t try to clean it up by yourself, for fear you might damage it. You would carefully bring this work of art to a master, who would guide you in how to restore it to the condition originally intended.
When people begin treating one another as God’s masterpieces waiting to be revealed, God’s grace grows in their lives and cleanses them. What do you see first in others – the mud or the masterpiece?
In the lead up to Easter, I am so glad that God saw me as a masterpiece, worthy of His sending His own Son to die for me. Shouldn’t we also see others as if they are also God’s masterpieces that led to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross?
I had a quick run to the Christian bookshop this morning after breakfast and picked up some stuff.
- Passion: White Flag
- Matt Redman: 10,000 Reasons
- International House of Prayer Student Awakening: Joy
- Bethel Music: The Loft Sessions
- Hillsong United: Live in Miami
- Craig Groeschel: What is God Really Like
- John Piper: Let the Nations Be Glad (I’ve always wanted to read this book. It is the seminal volume which links worship and missions and gave us the famous line “worship exists because worship doesn’t“).
Reviews on some of these items will appear in future posts so keep reading!