There are many sermons that challenge us to understand that our lives are the illustration of God to those who have never opened a Bible or entered into a church or have ever had a conversation with a follower of Christ.
I believe that this is true.
If I do believe this is true, then my experience through job loss, marriage difficulties, pain and suffering, financial difficulties, raising children, success, loss of a loved one and life in general are God’s illustration of Himself through me to others.
Wonder what that painting looks like?
Does it show resentment, anger, disappointment, confusion, hate or does it show love, compassion, yielding obedience, a servant, submission, honour, respect or awe?
I believe that I am caught sometimes thinking I have the right to be….whatever…and God catches me and quietly shares with me that the world is watching – what do I want them to see. Do I want them to see God or do I want them to see me?
Marriage difficulties I have had – with divorce among Christians at the 50% mark we have no better track record than the rest of the world. My wife and I entered in marriage with the idea that we would never divorce, and if we did, we would follow the Biblical practice of not remarrying until one of us dies.
That was a good standard to follow because it helped me work through marriage issues until they were resolved. However, the real issue for me was this — I tell everyone about the awesomeness and power of God and if I was to bail on my marriage, where would that awesomeness and power be? That is correct – non-existent. If God is not powerful enough to work in my marriage, then what can He really do? Those are what drove me to my knees demanding God’s presence and hand and love to fill my marriage.
My marriage has also illustrated my own relationship with God. How many times have I taken my marriage for granted illustrating the point of how many times I have taken God for granted? How many times have I left my wife at home alone while I went on my adventure illustrating how many times I have left Jesus on the living room couch of my heart alone while I did my thing?
As I connect the dots between my life being an illustration and life events illustrating my relationship with God, especially with my relationship to my children, God opens the door of communication because I understand what I see sometimes more than what I read or hear.
We may not want to experience the pains or successes that we will experience in this life, but one thing is for sure, God is going to use them as an illustration of His love, gentleness, kindness, mercy and grace. Also His saving power and the might of His right arm, but also the protection and refuge, a strong tower in times of trouble.
For those of us who God has asked for extraordinary obedience, we pray for trust – God has a special purpose for this particular illustration and has called us to provide it. May we be satisfied with the knowledge that the pain involved in obedience may benefit those we serve, whether or not it involves us personally.