Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Intended, Redeemed

Yesterday, I said that maybe it's not all bad that we see ourselves without grace.  Here's why:

It means we still have one eye on Eden, on the way things were supposed to be.  We still have an inkling of how God intended all this.

We weren't meant to be wounded.  We weren't meant to be weak.  We weren't meant to be empty or have need.  The fact that we are offended by such things means on some level, we remember what life was supposed to be like.

But we can't let that make us arrogant about now.  Because those hopes and dreams have fallen and we are fallen men and women, just as much us as the man standing next to us and the ground on which we are standing.

And while we may think we're doing God a favor by holding adamantly onto our perfect intention, such is not the case.  We actually make it harder to love Him.  In turn, we make it harder to know how much He loves us.

It's harder to love Him because our fallen nature in our ideal perfection shames us.  We don't feel like we measure up.  We know how much less we are than what we could have been intended to be.  We know we're not there yet, and we think it's our fault - because we are still blaming our fallen world for holding us back and ourselves for being held back by a fallen world.  If we know we are not God's perfect creation, we have a hard time convincing ourselves to turn to Him.  He should be ashamed of us; we know we are.

We are ashamed to go fallen to Him and we are embarrassed to think He would come humbled to us.  We wouldn't want God to be here, in this mess, even if meant being next to us because He's better than that.  And we ought to be better than this.  We wouldn't want His pity.

We fail to recognize it is grace.

God appreciates our eyes that still see Eden.  He loves that we know it wasn't supposed to be this way, that we weren't supposed to be like this.  He cherishes that piece of us that isn't ready to die fallen.  But He knows we're fallen anyway.

It's kind of a curse.

When we are able to look in the mirror and meet our reflection with grace, that is not a betrayal of God.  That is not a slight of Creation.  It doesn't mean we've given up on Eden; it means we've given ourselves over to the Cross.

In a fallen land, we are never going to be as God intended.  We are never going to be a perfect creation.  And that's not the plan any more.  That's not the goal.  That's not the relationship.

Today, God's perfect idea is not that we would never be wounded; He's promised that we would be.  So that He can mend our fallen flesh.  His perfect idea is not that we would never be weak; He knows that we will be.  So that He can be our strength.  His perfect intention is not that we would never be empty, never have need; He forms us empty.  So that He can fill us up.

Our relationship with God is no longer based on walking together with a breeze at our backs; our relationship is now based on walking together with a cross on our shoulders.  We are headed to Calvary, fallen men and women with a gracious God who has more up His sleeve.

If only we would look in the mirror and embrace that we are less.  And that that's ok.  Our less does not betray God; it invites Him.

It invites His tender mercy, His perfect strength, His redeeming grace.  This is how God sees us now, and this is how He loves us: not as He perfectly intended but as He graciously redeemed.

Knowing this, we are also invited.  We are invited to give ourselves a tremendous gift - a measure of grace for our fallen flesh.

Lord knows we need it.

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