We are not snapshots, or a mix of grainy impressions strung together in anyone’s mind, not even our own. We were not formed here in flesh primarily to convey cultural messages, create responses, or sell our images. God never intended for any of us to be understood as a collection of dates, facts, specs, achievements, and actions, good or bad. Social media profiles, scrapbooks, videos, and even vivid memories cannot capture or hold onto the precious essence of a life.
Because of that, we ought not reckon ourselves as more or less than we truly are during these few and precious days He gives us topside on this Earth. We should also dispense with trying to oversimplify the complex and divine. For instance, the words I write about our Naomi’s Village story could never stand in place of us or of what God really did. They are merely derivative attempts to chronicle a far greater whole, like whispers uttered into the vastness of eternity’s narrative. God has done so much more than I, than we, have ways to describe. I simply could not do His work justice with my feeble attempts, because that task is a divine one, the accounting of us and all this glory.
We are much more significant, and less significant at the same time.
How can that be true? The basis for accepting both antithetical ideas is simple – without The Story, our stories lack vital context. With it, our stories swell in worth, each one distinct and glimmering with eternal significance. But in proper context, our ballads are mere flashes that shine briefly, before fading into the greater and lasting brilliance that surrounds and incorporates them.
We are only a few of the billions of children He wonderfully and fearfully created, each unique but infinitely small and fleeting. Echoing hints of His divinity in our images, our bit characters play a tiny part in a complex and glorious epic that defies human understanding. Even individual distinctives do not define our worth. I am and we are, because God is. He is The Story, and within the context of Him and His glory, our lives hold incredible value.
Yet we – easily distracted, even awed by the smaller sparks – miss the magnificent aurora of an ongoing festival of lights that defines in love the value of us all. In doing this, we manifest our spiritual blindness. Perhaps, and rightly so, we focus on the inevitable explosions that accompany such a messy and glorious display, allowing fear and a lingering mistrust in His goodness to displace faith.
God first breathed life into me in late 1965, when I began to form in my mother Sheila’s womb, and He ordained from that zygote a small part in His cosmic cinema. He did the same for you, though perhaps you’ve never slowed down to consider your life in that way before. He did not offer either of us the lead role, nor the stage itself. The primary scene when the curtain opened, playing out with minor variations day after day, is a celebration of something greater than us going on in the middle of a bloody battlefield.
John Forman of the band Switchfoot put it this way, “Maybe Redemption has stories to tell.”
I am constantly aware these days that I am alive and living out my redemption story. When its narrative once lay bloated with the boring clichés of self-focus and suffering the fatal plot error of unedited sin, God saw fit to take up the pen and re-author its course. Ever since, I have been relishing what will come next, what I will find on each page. There is great joy living beyond the unfilled margins with Him.
Over 2000 years have passed since Jesus Christ came to Earth wrapped in flesh as a helpless baby. He lived His incarnation story here among us. In roughly one-third of a century, His sinless life and its divine significance split human history. As you finish 2018 and look forward to 2019, consider whether it is time to surrender your efforts to shine without purpose. After all, you were never meant to be the producer, the director, the writer, or the star of your story. Instead, you were born to join in, to love Him and to love your neighbor. You were lit to make the night sky brighter for Him, if only for a moment on the vast surface of time. Choose to find your significance in Him and to live for what you cannot yet see – a coming Day when every question fades and you are finally home.
By Bob Mendonsa