I left the house around 6:30 that morning for my one-mile trek to work. I rounded the corner and headed west on Grant Street for about three blocks and then turned north, cutting through Greenlawn Cemetery. The morning sky to my right was painted with those beautiful pastel pinks and blues that sometimes herald the sunrise on a clear morning. It was downright breathtaking, so I stopped for a moment just to try to take it all in.
The sun was glowing deep amber as it slowly peaked over the roofs of the houses on Baird Avenue, casting shifting shadows all around me as it rose. I wanted to stay longer but I had to get to work. As I continued north a blinding light emerged at ground level on my left. If you didn’t know better you would think that another sun was rising in the west. As I continued walking, my perspective changed, and I saw that it had just been a white marble tombstone reflecting the sun.
Then I heard that unexpected “still small voice” of God (I Kings 19:12) that has the power to instantly turn a person right side up and inside out:
“You are like that tombstone. You can only reflect my light by maintaining a right relationship to the Son.”
I immediately wept in worship and praise. God’s glory and grace has a way of catching us by surprise, doesn’t it?
I’ve come to believe that since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, that mankind has been desperately striving to redeem and vindicate itself. Tim Keller, in his book, “Counterfeit Gods” shared an excerpt from an interview by the pop star Madonna in which she describes her life long search for redemption, for self vindication:
“I have an iron will, and all of my will has always been to conquer some horrible feeling of inadequacy…I push past one spell of it and discover myself as a special human being and then I get to another stage and think I’m mediocre and uninteresting…Again and again. My drive in life is from this horrible fear of being mediocre. And that’s always pushing me, pushing me. Because even though I’ve become Somebody, I still have to prove that I’m Somebody. My struggle has never ended and it probably never will.”
Paul Tournier, in his book, “The Strong and the Weak,” wrote:
“I believe that there is a great illusion…that there are two kinds of human beings, the strong and the weak…All men, in fact are weak. All are weak because all are afraid. They are all afraid of being trampled underfoot. They are all afraid of their inner weaknesses being discovered. They all have secret faults; they all have a bad conscience on account of certain acts which they would like to keep covered up. They are all afraid of other men and of God, of themselves, of life of death.”
Are you sick and tired of your life long struggle to redeem and vindicate yourself; to prove to yourself and to others that you are “Somebody?” Well, I have some “Good News” for you; you can’t! But what you can’t do for yourself He has already done for you, for he is our Redeemer.And your life long struggle can end; because on the cross He declared, “It is finished.”
And you don’t have to be afraid of your “inner weaknesses being discovered” anymore; because He already knows and accepts you just the way you are. And in His eyes you are already “Somebody.” In His eyes your heart, soul and mind are holy ground. Otherwise, why in the world would He sacrifice His life to redeem yours? And spiritually all we have to do, all we can do, is maintain a right relationship to the Son. For you see, true redemption, true power, true freedom isn’t psychological, intellectual, emotional, occupational, social, financial or even behavioral. It’s spiritual, relational, attitudinal and prepositional; it’s from, in, by and through Christ Jesus.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)