A life lived with Jesus is a journey, filled with hidden treasures waiting to be uncovered. If we divest ourselves of our religious mindsets and our spiritual preening, approach our Savior with humility, admit that we don’t know half of what we think we know (and most of that is probably wrong), and realize that he wants to sweep us up into his eternal story, we will discover that Scripture is the recounting of a fairy tale, written moment by moment into the fabric of reality by the Author of all things. After all, we inhabit a story of intrigue, and passion, and danger, and betrayal, and romance, and heroism beyond imagination. If we can humble ourselves and gain renewed minds and let the Holy Spirit wipe the scales from our eyes, we become available to encounter wonders.
The Bible is filled with glorious promises and stories of great faith and heroic deeds. With awed imagination, we ponder the great miracles God has done in the lives of his people. Scripture is clear that God is for us, not against us, and that nothing can separate us from his love.
Yet, many people exist with unspoken, nagging doubts as to their genuine standing before the King. They feel that they are not living in anything like what could be considered overwhelming victory. They have the occasional, momentary flash of confidence in the Lord; the sense of his nearness and his triumph in their lives. Yet in most of their day-to-day living, they feel as though they are being battered and bullied by circumstances and personal failures and unanswered prayers.
They are like Zion, addressed in Isaiah 54:11,
O you afflicted one,
Tossed with tempest, and not comforted….
There is not a person alive who has not felt thrown about by waves of insecurity and fears. Also, we are assaulted by the enemy of our souls—the accuser who slithers to our side to remind us of the “facts” of our lives, pointing out every spot on our garments, every stain on our reputation, every failure to live as we should.
We too often fall into the mind-set that thinks the Lord has forgotten us. We don’t want to believe that he is too busy for us, but somehow we carry a nagging suspicion that he is aloof from our concerns and circumstances. If he truly cared, if he was aware of my needs, he would do something. In our foolish frustration borne of fear—in the “fretting unbelief of our hearts” (Francis Frangipane)—we think that our circumstances, or sin, have taken God by surprise.
This, we come to believe, is unpleasant and unavoidable reality. We long for “something more;” we ache with longing to feel close to our Creator and to really experience his love. We feel a thrill of glory and excitement as we discern the echoes of our desire in tales of imagination–stories sad and beautiful, wretched and charming, frightening and uplifting. Fables and fairy tales ignite our passion as we recognize, even if it is only for a few moments, our deepest desire for significance, for adventure, for heroism; we dream of the chance to battle for good and overcome evil, the wonder of being swept away in love, and the honor of truly living a life of sacrifice for a great and noble cause.
This is the lure and appeal of the great stories we love. Yet when we lay down the book or leave the movie theater or turn off the television, we return to our mundane lives, our hearts weighed down with empty resignation. Like Norman MacLean, we realize that “life is not a work of art.” Such moments cannot last.
But, what if we’re wrong? There is always a greater and deeper reality than the journeys of feeble men and women. In C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Aslan the lion tells the children about the “magic deeper still” from “the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned.” From endless ages past, our names have been written in the Book of Life belonging to the eternal Lamb who was slain for us. He is the great, noble, and powerful King who woos us by his mercy, delivers us from our selfishness and foolishness, and then catapults us into a story that catches us off-guard with its intensity and fire. We have been captivated and captured by a magnificent monarch who has determined to use his limitless resources to present to himself a breathtaking bride, stunning in her beauty, possessing neither spot nor wrinkle, but only transcendent loveliness.
Behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems,
And lay your foundations with sapphires.
I will make your pinnacles of rubies,
Your gates of crystal,
And all your walls of precious stones (Isaiah 54:11-12).
Your Lord has promised he will set the foundations of your life with precious stones; he is establishing his glory and beauty as the bedrock of your life. He created you for significance—for magnificence—and he will settle for nothing less as he moves you forward in your destiny.
So the King will greatly desire your beauty;
because He is your Lord, worship Him…
The royal daughter is all glorious within the palace;
Her clothing is woven with gold.
She shall be brought to the King in robes of many colors….(Psalm 45:11, 13-14).
The glory you will display is a mysterious and powerful work of his own hand:
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who call you is faithful, who also will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24.)
I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them (Ezekiel 36:25-27.)
Our God is the Originator of all that exists (Genesis 1; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17.) He is from everlasting to everlasting, and knows the end from the beginning (Psalm 90:2; Isaiah 46:10.) He is First and Last; He is the Beginning; He is the End (Isaiah 44:6; Revelation 1:8, 22:13.) The ageless past and endless future are in his hands (Isaiah 43:10-13.) He controls the destiny of everything he has made—and he made everything that is—so he determines our value, our worth, our significance, and our place in the tapestry of eternity.
The Lord knows full well who he intends each of us to be. In fact, this one who knows the end from the beginning has a destiny for you beyond anything you could begin to perceive.
But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9.)
Our present world is burdened by trouble and chaos; even our best intentions and systems are afflicted with wickedness and injustice. Jesus told us that we would have tribulation in this world, and we feel the anguish of the darkness that surrounds us, as well as the awareness of our own failures. Our Father knows all this and feels the pain too—and infinitely deeper than we could ever experience. He understands every minute detail of our journey here—every thought, every action. He understands our successes, our failures, our fears and our doubts.
But, do you not realize that when you worship and pray, presenting yourself before the Lord of glory, he is able to see you as you will be in eternity? He can interact with that glorious being he knows you will be. He sees the true you; the You you will become. Because he has determined to lead you into that destiny, he is able to respond to that person he has created. He knows you as the magnificent expression of his image that you will be throughout eternity. This is not wishful imagination or fanciful thinking. Your future identity is, to God, a reality now, a person who is locatable and knowable by our great King.
He is drawing us out of our “reality” into his. You have been created as an awesome image of our glorious Lord, destined to display his splendor not only in this age, but in the age to come, and to give glory and praise to him, dwelling in love with him for all eternity.
We will never, never cease to be the people who love the LORD our God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. And what glorious people we are, and will be!