Introduction - Boy, are we all different! The world is colored by a vast array of personalities, opinions, and interests. Aren't we glad we are not all the same--dull...
We lift a disapproving brow at those fickle disciples who turned away from Jesus when He didn't turn out to be the kind of messiah they were looking for. He didn't live up to their expectations. They thought they knew what a messiah was supposed to do. He would make life easier, give them what they wanted, and act like a Messiah should act. Instead, Jesus hung around with the wrong people, never challenged the oppressive government, and after three years they were all still broke. They stood face-to-face with God, but he was not what they had in mind.
Don't we do the same thing? Sometimes it is hard to admit that the real Jesus is not what we had in mind either. He doesn't act like we think he should. He didn't heal that sickness. He didn't provide the raise, cancel the divorce, or keep the wayward child from destruction. Isn't that what God is for? Isn't that why we trusted in him in the first place? Aren't there rules he's obligated to keep so we can predict his next move?
It is not until life has shattered our ideas of who we thought God was
that we can really find Him.
We are then forced to reckon with all that unpleasantness about dying to self, giving up our will, and being faithful unto death. We discover that total surrender means we don't get to help Him be God.
Turns out He was never created in our image at all. He doesn't have to explain Himself or even make sense to our finite minds. He is not bound by our paltry attempts at faith nor subject to our desires. That's why he introduced Himself as the I AM. He has no description.
When we admit that the Great I AM is not who we we had in mind either, we can toss out our self-centered expectations. It's OK to start over and get to know Him for who he really is. He's waiting for us to come to that point. It was in the Bible all along, but we skimmed over that part. As our understanding deepens, we realize how much we skimmed over. He reveals Himself to our newly-humbled spirits and see finally understand that there is only one way to be God and He's doing it.
It is not until we stop dictating what a God should be like that we can truly love the One who IS.
Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another.
The Lord paid attention and heard them,
and a book of remembrance was written before him
of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name.
“They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, "in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him.
"Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked,
between one who serves God
and one who does not serve him."
Is your name in His book?
Beauty calls to us.
But with that desire comes the knowledge that even if we could sustain the moment, this sample of beauty will never fully satisfy the ache it aroused. And we are right. Every human heart hungers for beauty because to hunger for beauty is to hunger for God Himself. He is the sole definition of perfect beauty. No created experience can compare with Him. Everything else leaves us restless, unfulfilled, and longing for something we can't quite define. Every taste of earth's beauty, whether through physical sensation or spiritual ecstasy, is merely an appetizer.
God put that ache inside us. He designed us to long for Him alone. The longing for perfect beauty is His gift to us. It keeps us unsettled, unsatisfied so that we keep searching for Him. Without it, we would settle for garbage rather than seek a feast. When we see Him face-to-face, we will find the ultimate satisfaction in which we can lose ourselves. In His manifest presence alone will we find beauty that will not end. Our thirst for beauty will at last be satisfied .
The glimpses we now receive through our physical senses are mere reminders that there is something more. Starving souls gobble up the droplets awaiting the feast, but we must always remember that substitutes will never fill the void. A table full of cotton candy will never satisfy real hunger. No matter how delicious the momentary taste, it will never meet that deepest need.
We try to maintain the beauty on earth, but it always fades. The sunset turns to night. Harmony dies away. The thrill of the moment evaporates and leaves reality. Only the ones who know God can turn away without disappointment, knowing that the taste for beauty has only been whetted, not frustrated. Instead, we can thank God for the sample as we look forward to spending eternity basking in real Beauty.
"Open it! Open it!"
Ever watch little children at a birthday party when it's time for presents? Eyes bright with expectation, jumping up and down, clapping hands, and giggling. They can hardly wait for the birthday kid to open the gifts. Why? It's not their birthday. Not their gifts. But they joyfully anticipate learning what delightful secrets are hidden inside the brightly wrapped boxes. It's a mystery they can't wait to unravel.
That's the picture I get when I read Roman. 8:19: "For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed." Have you ever really pondered what that verse means? It means no one but God knows who His children are.
This verse hints at Jesus' parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13. Tares (weeds) look exactly like wheat as they grow together. Eager workers wanted to search the field for tares and pull them up, but the farmer said no. Not yet. Jesus was comparing this field to the His followers. Believers and unbelievers live and work side by side and no one knows the difference. Sometimes even they don't know. The rest of creation doesn't know either who is really a child of God and who is a tare. An imitator.
Imagine that. Even the angels of heaven don't know. Only God does. All creation is jumping up and down, crying out to Jesus: "Open it! Open it!" Salvation is a mystery to the rest of creation. It is a concept only possible for human beings.
Do you wait eagerly for the children of God to be revealed? Or does that idea scare you to death? We don't need to try to rip up the tares. Jesus promised that His holy angels will do that when He comes again.
But be sure you are not a tare. If you wonder about it, please see this link and make certain that when the gifts are opened, you are delighted.