Friday, April 22, 2016

The Secret to Living Under Construction with Peace

It seems as if my entire life is under construction. Undone, incomplete, not yet finished. This is where I live. The yellow CAUTION tape is for my protection, but I can’t wait to rip it down and see beauty. God’s truth has a way of speaking directly into my impatience.

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.  All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)

We live in an imperfect, puzzling time where things don’t always make sense. It’s messy and unfinished. Living in the construction zone gives me anxiety. I crave clarity. I strive for perfection. I thrive in order and calm, and most days, it’s a stretch to find just a stitch of calm.

I get this same uneasy feeling when I read through books like Leviticus and Numbers. I get overwhelmed by the utter mess man has made of God’s creation. I have to remind myself that these are incomplete parts of God’s story that point to His ultimate plan for redemption. This story doesn’t end with the fall of man and the wrath of God. It’s true in scripture, and it’s true in my life and in yours.

Without Jesus every story is incomplete.

Jesus was with God as He spoke life into being. Restoration has always been part of God’s plan. Even at its messiest, God always knew how the story would end. He sees through the chaos of unfinished and past the imperfections of brokenness all the way to His final completed masterpiece.

God’s story starts and ends with Love.

God is Love. He reveals Himself through Jesus, the visible face of the invisible God. You may have heard 1 Corinthians 13 referred to as the “Love Chapter” in the Bible, but really, it’s an entire chapter about Jesus. In the margin of my Bible I wrote these words some time ago: Replace ‘love’ with ‘Jesus.’ I’m not sure who inspired me to jot those words next to these verses, but they have changed the way I read this familiar passage.

Jesus is patient,
Jesus is kind.
He does not envy,
He does not boast,
He is not proud.
Jesus does not dishonor others,
He is not self-seeking,
He is not easily angered,
He keeps no record of wrongs.
Jesus does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
Jesus always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Jesus never fails.  (verses 4-8)

We can live with peace in the construction zone, because God’s work is a labor of love.

The word undone means incomplete and unfinished.  It also means destroyed, distressed, or troubled. I’m learning that it is possible to live unfinished and also untroubled. Fear convinces us that God will leave us here in this undone state, but Perfect Love is willing and able to drive out fear.

Jesus is God’s completed work of redemption. In Him we have been made complete. (See Colossians 2:10) When we long for completion, we need look no further than Jesus- the One who gave everything to bring us back into the arms of the Father.  

We can live undone because of what Jesus has already done.

God already sees the completed you, so He can look right past the mess. All because of Jesus. There will be a time when it all makes sense, when every piece fits beautifully together, and all is completely restored. The story isn’t finished, but God’s already revealed the ending. He invites us to live underneath the banner of love and trust Him to finish the work He began.

When living undone starts to feel overwhelming, may we look to Jesus’ perfection rather than our brokenness. May we be reminded of God’s faithfulness even as we are tempted to give up. May we trust Him to see us through, surrendering everything unfinished to the One who said, “It is finished.”

Jesus loves you,

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