Jesus

What We Don’t Always See

Blog_WeavingLoomMy seven-year-old son has a strong sense of justice, at least when he’s not the one whose actions are in question. He’s quick to report any offense of which he sees himself victim. And often he’s compassionate enough to stand up when his friends face potential mistreatment.

The other day, he decided to call me to the bench while he stood judge and jury. Why, he wondered, did Daddy and I have two fans in our room when he didn’t have any? On this unseasonably warm spring day, it seemed a fair question. Maybe, just maybe, we were withholding from him. And maybe we loved ourselves a little bit more.

Except the aspiring lawyer overlooked one key piece of evidence: the air conditioner in his own room that was clearly not present in ours.

Yes, what he did not see was that Mommy and Daddy decided he should enjoy the cool comfort afforded by that air conditioner while we took the room without. We chose to love him enough to give him the blessing of a restful night of sweat-free sleep while we often bake in the rising heat, even with two fans. When he finally understood, his accusations came to a swift halt.

Now I know that for most of the world, air conditioning itself is a luxury of dreams. So to say we’ve sacrificed for our son is a little extreme. In the overall scheme of things, this is just one small way we’ve put our children before ourselves.

But the situation did remind me a little of myself. How often I come to God with accusation in my heart, questioning his love because things did not go as I expected. How often I ignore the sacrifices he’s already made for me, all because I’m so focused on what I want and don’t have.

Oh, the things we don’t always see.

Not only has God given us life and breath. Not only has he given us a hope and a future. But he gave his only son that “whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” We’ll never fully know the extremes he went to that we would know his love and receive his life.

And beyond that, he’s always and ever “working everything for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose”. He never sleeps. Every detail of our lives, woven into a perfect tapestry because of his infinite love.

What we don’t always see is the other side of the tapestry. We’re so focused on the loose strands so evident from this side of eternity, we miss the work of the master artist that will show itself beautiful in its perfect time. Abba, father…open our eyes. Help us to see. And forgive our ingratitude.

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (I Corinthians 13:12)

 

Photo Credit: weaving hands | on a loom in the iron age | Hans Splinter | Flickr

Why Do You Look for the Living Among the Dead?

Blog_Easter_TombAndCrossesWhen hope dies, it’s hard to believe life can prevail.  We remain at the burial site—gazing upon what we’ve lost, unaware that something greater is destined to arise from the ashes.  Helen Keller once said, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”  When Jesus died on the cross, those who had followed him closely were unaware that His death was only the opening of a greater door in which God was about to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that [they could] ask or think” (Eph 3:20).

The women who witnessed the miraculous were met with the question, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5). They earnestly came to Jesus’ disciples with news of the empty tomb, only to be met with disbelief.  It was as if they had come to a tomb of another kind—where hope itself was permanently laid to rest.  The disciples who’d walked with Jesus from the beginning of His ministry had mistakenly believed He’d come to set up an earthly kingdom.  He had been their hope of liberation from oppressive governmental and religious systems—a political Messiah.

When He died on the cross, their dreams died with Him; when they buried Him in the tomb, they buried their aspirations as well.  They did not understand Jesus’ destiny of suffering, predictions of death or promises of resurrection. They didn’t understand He had far greater things for them, an everlasting hope.

Many times we find ourselves in what appears to be a hopeless situation—a graveyard of disenchantment, surrounded by death.  Life has disappointed us; we have disappointed ourselves.  It seems that God has abandoned us to the grave.  We cry out for hope, but Heaven is as brass.  Alone in a graveyard of doubt and defeat, it seems that the promise of resurrection was nothing more than an illusion.

Yet it is when we have come to the end of ourselves that we are on the verge of finding true life.  When things seem most hopeless, we are closer to a breakthrough than ever before.  Why?  Because we finally come to realize that the things we were hoping in were not worthy of our trust to begin with.  They were incapable of sustaining us or providing the life we were looking for.  We finally seal false hope in a tomb—never to be revisited.  This is the beginning of resurrection.

When find ourselves at the entrance to life’s tombs, we have not come to a place of death:  we have instead arrived at the door that leads to everlasting life and hope.  Jesus’ death on the cross is an invitation to die to all our unworthy expectations.  His resurrection is an invitation to find hope that will never die.

 

Photo Credit: Resurrection by Gerd Altman from Pixabay

(Originally posted April 2015)

When We’ve Lost Everything

Each story in the history of our Savior involves loss, but also reveals how God is able to take the trials of our lives and turn them into testimonies. And each story reminds us that even when we’ve lost everything, we’re never alone.

 

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Through the Fire

There are greater outcomes when we endure the furnace of affliction with grace, allowing God to birth in us a deeper compassion through the fire.

 

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The Most Hopeless Pieces

A skilled artist can transform the most useless items into something of matchless worth. And that’s what our loving God is able to do with the most hopeless pieces of our lives.

 

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Seen.

If you feel forgotten, know that there is a God whose name is El Roi, “the God who sees me.” When no one else sees. When no one else cares to see. His eyes invade our hearts with light powerful enough to split the darkness and birth new life.

 

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An Eternal Perspective

An eternal perspective transforms our narrow, earth-bound perspective. It elevates our thinking, to remember, “my flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

 

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