There are many times I wonder what it would be like to come from a place of growing up in relationship with Christ. I see some who fell in love with Jesus at an early age and have never really fallen out. Not to say they’ve been perfect, as none of us are, but I think there is much to be admired in those who’ve remained faithful against all odds. How often I wish I didn’t have the regrets of the life I once lived and the attitudes/inclinations I still sometimes fall into. How much I wish certain spans of my life just didn’t happen, yet they did. Things were done, words were said, things that should have never been were built up in my life. Oh, to have a past that would be a joy to retell.
How many times I’ve recounted and repented for so much of my past and marvel at the mercies extended to me in the present. I didn’t deserve the life I now live yet He’s freely given it and every day, despite the challenges and even wrestling with self I still have to do, He makes it all the better. An incredible family, a home in the promised land, promises of God ever being fulfilled before my very eyes and its marvelous beyond words. Even aside from the numerous tangible gifts, He pours out a comfort and the assurance of always having Him to look forward to, lean on and trust with everything in my life.
Is it not incredible to you that Jesus actually secured a way that would strip off every hindrance, tear down every barrier and abolish every excuse we could ever have for not living an incredible, rich and abundant life in His presence? It’s just dumbfounding that I could look with horror on decades of my life as he gently presses my chin, turning my head and resetting my gaze onto a future for me that He looks at with joy.
It’s easy to wonder “how could God want me?” Yet, every word, every action, every promise makes the truth of His desire to have us all to His own, undeniable. …and not only to have us but to build in us something great.
“I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones.” (Isaiah 54:12)
Before Christ, we worked and strived to build our own lives in a way that seems pleasing to us. At times, we erect strong timbers and hand pick the finest woods to piece together the vision of the life we want to live. At others, we find ourselves grasping at straws, patching holes in what we’ve built with scraps and cardboard, trying to keep the rain out.
Having been built on the wrong foundation to begin with, it can never truly be trusted, so God, in His goodness and grace, often has to take us through seasons where we feel like the walls are being torn down and crumbling around us. In these times, we can feel as though we are being punished for the lives we’ve lived, as though God has set Himself against us. We struggle to see His mercy at work when it all comes down, when, really, He would be justified in leaving us to what our own hands have built. Yet, He doesn’t.
He doesn’t leave us. He doesn’t watch and laugh as we struggle and fail a thousand times over. No. He comes to our aid and sets out to build something of real, true value in our lives – something beautiful and lasting. To mount those rubies on walls of wood, it would all come down. What our hands have built could never support the weight of what God is building in our lives. But, there has to be a removal of the old to provide a clearing for what’s to come.
Our God is all-in for those who are in it for Him. He has always been all-in for us. Not a single action of God contradicts that. Every move and work of God only underscores that truth. He has withheld no good thing from us but has given everything that we would get to know Him.
So, when the things of this world are fading away in our lives and the pain and discomfort of saying “goodbye” to things and places that, at one point were all we had known, seems nigh unbearable, we can muster up within us joy and hope. Yes, joy and hope. It is not in God’s nature to leave the ground barren and unfruitful or to leave a life in rubble. No. God builds. God restores. God heals. God makes whole. What an incredible gift it is that because of Jesus, those but willing to submit to His work in their lives will not enter heaven as one barely escaping the flames, seeing the sum of everything else in their lives come to nothing, but that we would come into His presence with a life lived as a gift to Him. (1 Corinthians 3:10-14)
I don’t know about you but I don’t want to live the kind of life God would have to choose to forget in granting me passage into His kingdom. I want my life to be a joy for Him to recount – my “THANK YOU!” for all He is and all He’s done for me.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1a )