Monday, May 6, 2013

From Dust to Beauty

See creation as it is --- Defiled. BUT beautiful, too. Because that's what God sees when He looks at us. He sees His bride who has been unfaithful to Him. But there is still a remnant of her glory left. She is stained, but He has not forsaken her. She has betrayed but He will never betray. She is lost but He is, even now, working towards the day when He will purify her, restore her, bring her back to Himself. 
This world is a mess.

It would be easy to believe that it is all too far gone and that God has given up on it ---- given up on us. We have run away from Him so many times. Why would He even bother to keep on pursuing us? Some say that the world is only getting worse and that He will destroy it all, because there is nothing worth saving.

That's not true. He called it good. The only thing that keeps us from turning back is, in the words of Sam Gamgee, "that there's some good in this world and it's worth fighting for."

But sometimes I feel like none of that good is left. There is so much suffering, pain, sin. It's all so hard to deal with and hard to understand. Where is the beauty? Truth? Goodness?

And then I read something C.S. Lewis once said - "If tribulation is a necessary element in redemption, we must anticipate that it will never cease till God sees the world to be either redeemed or no further redeemable." And it hit me. The very fact that things are hard is proof that there is still hope.  Tribulation is necessary for redemption. And if there were no more tribulation in this life, then we would know that there truly was nothing left to fight for. We suffer because God is redeeming. When a goldsmith is making something beautiful, he must heat the metal until it is flaming red liquid. Then as it is re-hardening, he must beat it into the shape he wants. Redemption is like that. He heats and re-heats, shapes and re-shapes until that hunk of metal is something glorious. The only times the heat and beating and pain stops is either when the piece is finished. . . or when the metal is so hard or dirty or misshapen, that it is unable to be used.

"How can a loving God," they ask. "How can a loving God allow evil?" We struggle over this question. We torment ourselves. He is all-powerful. He is all-good. Why do babies get killed?
We never stop to wonder if it might be our definition of love that is causing the contradiction.

Maybe we don't know what love really is.

"If God is wiser than we, His judgement must differ from ours on many things, and not least on good and evil. What seems to us good may therefore not be good in His eyes, and what seems to us evil may not be evil." (Lewis, The Problem of Pain).

He is looking at all of history and all of future. We only see the present. And the present may be frightful. We may choose to see the world as something filthy that we cannot wait to get away from; something that will be demolished; something to throw away. Or we can choose to see through the sin. We can choose to look at the world through eyes of faith. We can see what He sees when He looks at the world --- a mess, but He makes beautiful things out of the dust. And He hasn't given up on His world, so why should we?

On the day that He died, victory was sure. He will crush the serpent and the serpent knows it. And in that day there will be no more sin. The truth that is half-hidden now by sin will be fully revealed.

 He will redeem his bride from the darkness she has sold herself to and will make her beautiful once again.


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