The sky, once a brilliant blue, dulled to a somber gray as the clouds collected and the sun began its descent. The wind relentless and the air damp, his difficult work became even more so in the adverse conditions.
At least, that’s what I assume. I was inside. Doing whatever it is moms do with their kids on cruddy evenings in Fall. I roused myself out of my light and warm cocoon and ventured into the elements. “Would you like some hot chocolate or something?”
He looked up at me from the front porch. “Yes, that would be nice.”
Two minutes later, I snapped the lid on the travel mug and delivered the piping hot chocolate to the grateful Mr. Rick, and we laughed and talked about the progress he was making and the weather and who knows what else.
A few days later, the travel mug made it back home in a plastic bag. In pieces. Now Rick is good, but he’s no Jesus. I didn’t receive more travel mug back by virtue of multiplication like it was a loaf of whole wheat or a small mouth bass. It was actually the same amount of mug. Just divided. I gave him two pieces. He gave me back four.
Rick deep cleaned my coffee mug! And that was so awesome! Because that is exactly what it needed, and what I needed too.
In a world of visual stimulation, eye candy, we naturally just want to look good. Maybe not always physically, but who doesn’t want to look like they have it all together? Just wash the outside, Lord. And maybe a bit on the inside. No need to take me apart. Don’t waste your time on the nooks and crannies. I’m good enough there. Just give me a song on my lips and a decent amount of patience for the day, and I will praise You for it. I look good. You look good. It’s a win-win.
The only problem is we’re not God. I can’t call things good when I myself am not good. God alone is good (Mark 10:18), so He’s the real quality control. And He’s not satisfied with “good enough” because He knows that when we settle for our own standards, we miss out on His glorious will. The will that comes with (His) hard work, dismantling our lives, thoroughly scrubbing us in the blood of Christ (And sometimes using a God-sized power-sander.)
Because every frown in the mirror at the new wrinkles, the receding hairline, the way our clothes fit may seem “not that bad,” but it is a slight on the goodness of God, and it becomes a habit. It seeps into the nooks and crannies of our mind and taints the purity of our trust in the sufficient and constant love of God. Every lie that you are “not good enough” (for one reason or another) distances you from the One who gives unmerited and crazy abundant grace simply because He values you and loves you so much.
So if it feels like God is taking you apart- if He is dismantling your job, your relationships, your self-perception, your life, then take heart. Be encouraged. He’s deep cleaning. He’s not interested in keeping up appearances. He is interested in a real, gritty, painfully honest and gloriously fulfilling relationship with you. You. And He won’t stop until it is complete.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6