Life in 4,320 Minutes

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I am not a potter, but this past year, I was able to experience what it was like to literally put my sweat and blood into a tiny little clay bowl when my fiancé and I went to a class together. I messed up at least 2 times and had to throw the used clay back in the bucket. This bucket didn’t hold clay to be tossed out, but to be used again for another time. The reason I had to put the clay back into the bucket was that I am an amateur. I am not a potter.

In the Christian life, we are clay and God is our potter and He is not an amateur.

But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Isaiah 64: 8

In the past 72 hours, God has been doing some deep work in my heart. 4,320 minutes of heart-wrenching pain and joy. In those hours, I’ve gone to marriage counseling with my best friend and have been shown some of my deepest struggles and in turn had to ask forgiveness from the one I love the most here on earth and pray that God would change me to be more like Jesus. I’ve sat in a beautiful room listening to two friends joyfully give of their talents while giving testimony to the goodness of God through their pain and sorrow. I’ve received the message that two close friends have become new parents to a beautiful baby girl. I’ve talked with a mom whose child is going through physical difficulties. I’ve been to a work luncheon where I heard testimonies of women who have been set free from the bondage of life on the streets where I live. Today, I received the message that a sweet friend and mentor has gone home to be with her Savior.

This life is momentary and can change in a moment’s notice…in 4,320 minutes.

Yet, none of this is about me or even the people mentioned. It is about who it is that has His mighty hand in the making of this very small window of life, death, joy and pain. It is about God and we can praise Him in the midst of the pain in life because He has made a way for it all to end.

Do you realize that it was good that God forbade Adam and Eve from going back into the Garden of Eden once they fell? You see, once Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, sin entered the world. If God had allowed them to eat from the Tree of Life they would still be here…stuck in their everlasting pit of sin.

“Then the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—’ therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.”

Genesis 3:22-24

Despite the initial thoughts that come into our mind when we think of banishment, God was kind and merciful to send them out so that one day…they could die.

Not only did God provide a way out of eternity in our filthiness and broken relationship with Him, but He provided a way for us to have eternal life with Him free from sin and sadness with a new body and a restored relationship with Him.

Life can change in a minute, but that change can be an everlasting one.

“ For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

“And If Not…”

Woman with luggage in mountains.

Each one of us can understand the feeling of change. The resistance, the pain, the excitement, the joy. Some fear it and shy away from it. Some embrace it for the sake of adventure. For the rest of us, change is like starting a new series of books. You start reading the first book trying to understand the setting and details of the characters, but at the same time your mind keeps bringing up this thought, “Either I’m going to love this story or this is going to be a big waste of time.” No matter how many recommendations from others you’ve received or reviews you’ve read, you won’t fully know if you love the story until you’ve read the words, “The End.”

That’s what’s nice about books. They have an end. They have a physical end that you can pick up and have a complete understanding about. It’s really not that complicated. Life, however, is different. Each year, week, day and moment is messy, complicated and completely unpredictable. You can’t even look ahead to the end like some do with a book (I personally think that takes the fun out of it!). Maybe you’re like me and wish that your life was simple and uncomplicated with little change. Just enough for adventure, but not enough to be painful.

Well, unfortunately, this isn’t what life brings.

What is that one thing that makes a lump form in your throat the minute someone asks the right/wrong question? Is it that horrible disease, financial debt, relational issue/status, sin struggle, life-changing decision or even that overwhelming theological question that you just can’t muster up the courage to ask? How can you possibly describe what you are going through or can you avoid the question altogether?

The moment that Adam and Eve fell, man was separated from God by a deep barrier of darkness filled with spiritual and physical thorns, suffocating mires and depressing loneliness. No good deed or standing could ever be our advocate. We needed a perfect and holy sacrifice. Jesus was that sacrifice and our propitiation for our sin. At the very moment we confess our sin, ask forgiveness and accept Jesus as our personal Savior, change happens. And that change is gloriously painful. The most painful thing we will ever experience now is our time here on earth. Our spiritual bodies are now secured alone in Christ, but our physical ones still need to die in order to be with the Lord. So, what does that mean? It means we still have to live with ourselves and now our spiritual and physical bodies don’t agree. Sanctification doesn’t look all that great to us because it also means pain. However, sanctification is a sweet smelling savor to our Father; making us holy, making us essentially more like His Son, Jesus. At the end of it all, we eternally get to be with our Lord and Savior. The One who created us loved us died for us and was raised is now interceding for us at the throne of God where we will one day be with Him forever. That’s the good news. The end of change is a perfect relationship with God. He is a good and gracious God.

So, what if your circumstances change for the better (in your opinion)? Would that change you? Let’s not try to put a, “Well, what if God is trying to do such and such” kind of statement on this. What if you thought you were doing what God wanted you to do and then your plans changed? Are you out of God’s will now?

Do we really think that we have the control to change the perfect will of God? Do we really have to understand every little detail of our lives? Why do we think we have to control everything or ask God to fit into our god-like box that we can understand. His ways are perfect and always for our good. A friend once asked me, “Sarah, if you had the choice, would you rather struggle and have God or would you rather never struggle and not have God?”

Whatever the circumstance, whatever the hurt, whatever the trial, joy or pain, God has a purpose. If He wills it, He will do it, and if not, He is still good.