“O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, ‘Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.’ Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long.”
— A.W. Tozer
Another experience saturated by the presence of God, and the landmark of what He’s done in my life in this past season, has been the birth of my daughter Sarah Clare. Now, as I mentioned in the previous post, we often have a misconception regarding ‘redemption’ in the western culture. To be more specific, the redemption of God. Redemption is not making up for bad stuff by doing enough good things to compensate for the bad; rather, I am learning that God takes the most tragic circumstances and uses it, and turns it around for good. It is not a waste, but a medium in His redemptive creativity. Like a painter it is a brush stroke in the grand picture of His love and His glory – as illustrated in the lives of those He loves. I realize that from a western mindset, this runs the danger of casting the concept of a sadistic God, but this is not the case. There are things to consider: original sin, the problem of evil, and a God sovereign enough (and with a love strong enough) to give us choice and a will. In the end, Ecclesiastes 3:11 saying, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end,” summarizes the deep truth that we are so small – but have been made for something so great. Even the ‘ugly’ is made beautiful, and God has created us for eternity yet at the same time our perspectives are so finite that we have trouble seeing past our momentary discomforting ‘ugly’ situations to see the larger beautiful tapestry that is being woven. So, in essence, the stones (lessons) pulled from this season’s riverbed regarding this happenstance are:
- God is good (period). When tragedy strikes God is good (not in a pop-Christian culture-‘God is good all the time, all the time God is good’ kind of way, but in a real enduring kind of way).
- When we trust Him, and abandon to Him…when He is our plan A and B…when He is the Lord Whom we look to and say “Where else could I go?” He is faithful to take the ugly, the ashes, and broken pieces, and make them beautiful.
- It seems that God is very interested is giving life abundantly (resurrection), but in His wisdom lets us experience the incubators for life abundantly (Gethsemane, crucifixion, and the grave). We must not rush past the tragedy, but hope through the tragedies.