Who do you see when you watch your spouse’s face light up with a huge smile? Or a newborn child you are cradling? Or that dying family member whose hand you are holding? The answer is clear in each case. You see a child of God. Who do you see as you watch video of a malnourished child covered by flies? Or an addict drinking cheap wine out of a paper bag? Or that bully who has made your teenage son’s life miserable? Again, the answer is clear as can be. You see a child of God. Not just in some generic sense. But a child of God for whom Jesus has died.
Life can be hard. Really hard. No wonder you yearn for God to give you peace, security and sanctuary. Thankfully, that’s exactly what God does – at least most of the time. But sometimes God doesn’t want to make your life easier. Instead, sometimes God wants to make your life more difficult so that you can make others’ lives better. So don’t be surprised if you sense God calling you to wade into suffering, deal with mean people and walk into challenging situations. And don’t be surprised if you are more than ready to go.
You’re often pulled in one direction by your desire to do things your way and pulled in another by your longing to go deeper with God. So how do you get unstuck from this seemingly endless tug-of-war? Invite God to help you blend these two impulses in the way only God can so that you become the ‘there’s never been, is not and will never again be anyone like you’ person that God has created you to be. When this happens, you’ll be exactly who you need to be doing exactly what God longs for you to do.
Sometimes things get personal. Really personal. You’re not just talking about pain – it’s your pain. You’re not merely talking about struggle – it’s your struggle. You’re not simply talking about grief – it’s your grief. So what do you do when it’s this personal? Be real, be human and be vulnerable because that’s when God makes the biggest difference in your life. It’s through your need you experience God’s presence, your weakness God’s strength and your deepest despair God’s healing. All of which proves yet again that God is always with you – in a really personal way.
When God unleashed the fullness of love in those moments of Jesus’ pain, suffering and death on the cross, God’s love won. When you invite this divine love to go to work and transform you from the inside-out, God’s love wins again. And when you are so transformed by this grace that you can’t wait to unleash it through your life in a world filled with grief, disease, hopelessness, injustice and poverty, God’s love will win again. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Because God’s love for the entire world wins one person at a time.