Here’s something strange for you to ponder along with me today. I don’t know what to call this thing that I have observed throughout life. It’s really quite frustrating and strange, but also strangely liberating in a way when I think about it.
It’s the fact that quite often, things just don’t seem to “gel” in the way we think that they will. See, I am kind of thinking that the glue that holds us together actually spills out over the sides of all the puzzle pieces sometimes. It’s a messy kind of glue, yet a strong one. It’s not perfectly stuck together in a pleasing-to-the-eye kind of way.
Let me elaborate just a bit with you, using myself as an example again since I can only speak for me and not anyone else’s experience.
I have gone through seasons in my life where everything was rolling along smoothly physically. I was enjoying the utmost regarding health, energy, vitality, just the whole deal. Yet many of those pockets of time in my life that I had the physical good stuff were laced with a simultaneous darkness that was pervasive inside of me. Physically I was awesome! Mentally, emotionally, and heart-wise? Not so much.
I have also experienced periods of time in which things are going well on the inside, but I am falling apart somewhat on the outside. For example, right now my body is giving me a lot, I mean a lot, of trouble. I have yet to find out along with my doctors and therapists what exactly is going on. I hide it well – so I have complete and total awareness of the fact that it could be much, much worse. I know people can reach a point physically where it is no longer possible to hide the pain. However, it is still very pervasive and can be consuming, because the pain never goes away.
I pause for a moment as I write and share with you as the Spirit whispers inside of me, “Is your pain your best friend, or am I?” It may always be with me, that ugly pain, this is true. But it can NOT define me.
I belong to HIM.
I am filled with joy and peace and love right now, even though I don’t like my pain enemy. My body seems to be falling apart, but my heart is more whole (although it always needs work – daily) than it has been before when I had the physical stamina of something that seemed almost – supernatural.
So it’s true – the physical and the spiritual are just not gelling the way I want them to and I don’t enjoy that much.
But I’m whole nonetheless.
See, that’s got me really thinking a lot, friends. That’s got me praising Jesus for just how Awesome that He truly is. He can make me whole even when my body is falling apart! He was able to take all the pieces of my emotional and spiritual mess from darker times and put them back together in a new way – His way – and make me whole again. I’m sure He will regarding this pain stuff too one day. If not here on earth, when He takes me home.
This I know.
Maybe some day that stuff will stay together and then the physical pieces will be in a better place and it will happen all at the same time. God can do whatever He wants.
But I must tell you something. Right now? I tend to think it won’t happen that way. Right now I really think this may be the way God likes to do things with His children. He doesn’t want some kind of fake masterpiece of a puzzle that looks like a gorgeous piece of art for all the world to enjoy for the superficial beauty that it possesses. He wants others to SEE the glue. He IS that glue. When we go home to heaven, I think it will look different than it does now. But here? We need to show the glue.
I think He wants people to see HIM and our wholeness in HIM through our flaws and through our brokenness.
The beauty in the ugly of it all.
That’s kind of cool when I think about it. This duality of things that look like they don’t make sense or fit together the right way, yet they, when glued together with the blood of Jesus Christ are totally and completely whole. The real kind of whole. The real finished puzzle that keeps being re-created and re-worked to become even more beautiful over time.
Our way is not the right way. It may be prettier way, or the feel-good kind of way, but it doesn’t necessarily bear witness to the saving and healing power of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior.
When people occassionally tell me they think I really “have it together” I know it’s time to get to know them a bit better and have a conversation. I know then that it’s time to share a bit more with them about just how very flawed and imperfect I really am. I know then, with no doubt whatsoever, that when I share just how ugly my puzzle or story may look, but just how beautifully my Savior has crafted it, I will be able to bring true glory to Him.
Isn’t that what it’s all about?
In some ways it’s better to have to look for the beauty in things isn’t it? Instead of it being just right there in your face, you have to dig and search. I think it’s part of what makes us relatable, as Christians who follow after Christ, to others who may not know Him. Jesus Himself came as a common looking man, chose the profession of a carpenter, hung out with sinners and tax collectors, and wore a crown of thorns instead of one made of gemstones and gold.
I see beauty in that, don’t you? I see beauty in that blood, beauty and truth and compassion underneath those thorns. I see beauty and mercy and love in that sacrifice seen in the torn up flesh and the scrambling to hug the cross that meant everything for you and for me. I see beauty in the crying out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
I see beauty in that ugly.
I see my Beautiful Lord and Savior.
And guess what else? Because of Jesus, we get to know something about what it is to be held together by true glue.
Oh, and by the way……It WILL all gel together the way it was always meant to again one day.
Yes, oh yes, it WILL.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given. Romans 5:3-5
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:3