Glory Out of Failure Meditations: 14. And So
2 Cor 3:18 we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Rom 12:2 be transformed by the renewing of your mind
To Conclude: Let’s pick up some of the threads we have followed in this series. We have been working on the Bible-based concept of the life of a believer in Christ, this person made new – and glorified, meaning something wonderful under the hand of God. Yet the truth is we all start from a place of failure, a place outside of the knowledge of God and it needs Him to draw us to Himself, convict us by His Spirit so that we see our need and turn to Him seeking forgiveness and a new life. Yes, that’s how it all starts off but that is only the beginning.
Varied Beginnings: Again, the truth is that everyone of us is a unique child of God. Some of us came to Him as children, others when we are older, some came out of life of almost simple goodness while others came out of lives of flagrant evil. Abram and David seem to just be good guys who get called by God. Jacob was a twister, a deceiver and a grabber from the outset. Joseph was a spoilt little rich boy, insensitive to others around him. Moses was a prince in Egypt, only half sure of his background. However, the wonder is that He draw each of us, just like He drew each of them. We all have unique beginnings.
Varied Continuations: The thing about the Bible is that it is full of stories, stories of these individuals, their callings, their interactions with God, their struggles and their ongoing failures. And yet in the midst of the failures there is often a glimmer of faith. But these failures are rarely really serious and dramatic – yes Moses killed an Egyptian, David had Uriah killed – they are mostly misunderstandings, trying to work it out themselves, not yet trusting in God. Abram submits to Sarai’s prompting to get a son for a family name, earlier he had directed her to pretend to be his sister (and he does it again later), Jacob schemes to be a ‘someone’, schemes how to get rich, all the things we see in people so often in life. Joseph boasts about his spirituality, getting prophecies from heaven, Moses take the law into his own hand. In the New Testament, Peter constantly opens his mouth trying to ‘help Jesus’ and gets it wrong. Saul is totally zealous for the faith of his fathers but doesn’t realize it was only half the picture. John wants to help out by excluding possible imposters, calling down fire on unbelievers. Stories and more stories. We all have stories; they are what we call our lives.
Various Paths: All of these varied stories are going somewhere. Half the time the ‘travellers’ don’t understand where they are, where they are going, why they are going, how they are going to get there. So often we aren’t even aware we have a destination we’re so taken up with the present day. Abram had a vision of a land and a people but it was only tentative. Jacob had a self-centred goal and never realised he was to become the most famous Patriarch in the world. Joseph had dreams he didn’t understand and could never have seen the path ahead that took him to such prominence and importance. Moses thought he was royalty and never dreamt he would be a shepherd and eventually the most famous shepherd in the history of Israel, trained by forty years solitude in the desert. A young zealous Pharisee could never have dreamt that his experiences and travels and writings would have ended up as a large chunk of the most famous book in the world, by which millions would plot their courses through life. A young brash fisherman minding his own business fishing for his father, could never have guessed at the years ahead that would eventually see him recording both amazing insights into the three most dramatic years of earth’s history, and then catching something of the incredible history of the end of it all.
And Us: We each came to Christ in different ways, we have blundered through the Christian life making different mistakes, taking different times to learn different things. We each have a unique beginning and a unique path to walk. Some of us have entered this path with lots of baggage from the past, others with very little. For some the path is relatively easy, for others incredibly difficult. Some will achieve great things, others not so much. We all come the same way and struggle with similar things but we all have the same Saviour, the same resources and the same end goal. Some of us catch the big picture with great detail, others potter through life with limited understanding, but all are much loved. Whether we realise it or not, there are certain key critical things about this walk. It is about relationship with Him, about learning who He is (the Provider), about our own inadequacies, shortcomings and needs and above all else, how much we are loved. I recently came across a quote by Dutch theologian Henri Nouwen: “God’s presence is often a hidden presence, a presence that needs to be discovered. The loud boisterous noises of the world make us deaf to the soft, gentle and loving voice of God.” Someone commented that he realized that “to encounter God means actively, intentionally and attentively seeking Him and the intimacy of His presence.” Undergirding it all is learning that He is there, He is here with us and He is here for us – despite our failures – and simply looks for our joyful responses whereby we stop, pause and listen to Him. How wonderful.