Although God may sift you in the trials of life, you are cherished beyond measure by Him. Believing the truth of His love is critically important. Knowing this truth leads to an understanding of His perfect grace and the salvation which results from it. The knowledge of grace is intended to make us feel free, loved and saved by Him.
Free, because we see that a relationship with Him and eternity beside Him is guaranteed, based on His promise alone, not on anything we do. Once saved, there is nothing we can do or undo to change His gift of grace. Nothing else is needed except faith in Him. We are not even saved by the strength of our faith, but by the grace of Him in whom we are faithful.
Recognizing that, then, makes it easier to endure the trials of this world. The fall from perfection created the troubles we live through, but the God who loves us and has redeemed us through His Son can use those trials to draw us closer to His side and deeper into the shelter of His wings, refining us in the process.
It all has to do with perspective. To an artist, perspective is the concept of making three dimensional objects appear three dimensional on a two-dimensional surface, such as paper or canvas. Perhaps you can imagine a painting of a trail through the forests that is rendered with such depth that you feel as if you could step into the picture and travel where it takes you.
There are various techniques artists use to add depth and reality to their pictures, making two dimensions seem like three.
I believe we often see spiritual things in just two dimensions: the here and the now. God, the Master Artist, sees things in multiple dimensions. His perspective is complete, ours is not.
God is a master of technique, with an eye for the perfect perspective. He sketches with broad strokes, light touches, working with shadow and light, creating, erasing, adding in depth and character as we walk with Him.
He sees our future, individually and how it relates to others whose stories we will enter. He sees into the depths of our spirits and the hidden hurts of our hearts. He perceives the inner workings of our thoughts and knows the words of our lips and movements of our hands before they become reality. He knows how He wants to render the picture of our lives and how each moment blends with the lives around us.
His perspective is the most excellent. To maintain a right perspective for our lives, we must focus on Him, trusting His great vision and the kindness of His love.
Several years ago, my daughter’s cat, Chloe, jumped onto the kitchen windowsill and knocked off a little vase which sat there. Part of the edge broke away when it hit the sink. The fragments were too small to glue back in place, so I intended to throw it away. As I walked to the trash can, I re-read the words on its surface: Live Love Laugh.
A friend had given the vase to me years ago while I was in the hospital recovering from a serious infection. At that time, I didn’t feel like living, loving or laughing, but I kept the vase. I now know that God used that time of sickness in my life to teach me about Himself, to grow my trust in Him and to move me forward along the path He had for me. I’m so thankful for that trial, although it was very difficult for me and my family.
Slowly, I replaced the vase on my windowsill, turning it so that I could see the brokenness. It became more beautiful to me as it took on a deeper meaning: Our promise of life eternal with Him cannot be taken away by the brokenness of our world or our lives, because we live with His Holy Spirit in us.
We have God’s love and presence with us always, through the sifting of trials, and we can laugh (rejoice) through those trials, because in Him and by His grace we are free from sin and cherished by His heart. Through it all, we can trust that He is in the process of making us like His Son.
My prayer for you: that you will live in Him, love Him because He first loved you and laugh with joy in your spirit because He is with you always, even to the end of the age.
If you are not yet God’s child, have faith that He sent His Son to die for you. Confess your sin and accept His grace. Pray in your heart and believe in your mind.
1 John 1:8-9 (NIV)
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”