I am forever changed by grief, but grief is not the full measure of my life in Christ. “GLEANINGS from Claudia — The Abiding Life” explores this life attached to the One True Vine.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
Advent begins this Sunday and I find myself once again leaning into the coming of Jesus. Recently I’ve seen firsthand the chaos and pain that sin brings into life. I weep for people I love who are stewing in the consequences of an uncovered choice to sin. But sitting in this place also reminds me of the ‘ground-hog day’ nature of God’s redemptive work in our lives. He comes into our sin and sorrow over and over and over again. He never tires of advent, of coming to save us and transform us. I am in awe of his long-suffering and determined love for us.
Today I am more in love with Jesus than ever. I see His power to take the repentant broken heart and bring loving restoration … a ‘better than new’ place of healing and health. In the mess of a sinful choice where you can almost hear Satan’s diabolical laugh of perceived victory, I see instead the miraculous hand of God at work. The sin is revealed and Christ’s light is shining on it and on those involved or collaterally damaged. Like a lanced boil all of the ugliness flows out and healing begins. Satan thinks he’s won, but His doom has never been more certain. Our God is NEVER the author of sin, but His power is such that He can take our sin choices and broken repentance to bring about the most amazing healing and salvation.
I looked today at Matthew chpater 1 and was struck again by God’s heart for us and His complete power over sin. In the past I’ve read the genealogy of Jesus with a ho-hum, let’s get on with it attitude. But think beyond the surface names and understand the very human story this genealogy tells … Abraham couldn’t wait on God’s promise and slept with his wife’s slave to get a son (with Sarah’s complicity) … Isaac lied to Abimelech saying Rebekah was his sister instead of his wife … Jacob lied and manipulated to get his father’s blessing … Judah slept with his daughter-in-law Tamar when she was disguised as a prostitute … Rahab the harlot is in this list … David and his son Solomon are here; Solomon whose mother is Bathsheba the woman with whom David had an illicit sexual union and then attempted a cover-up by killing Bathsheba’s husband Uriah. This list goes on and on. What amazes me most is that these fallible, messed up, wounding, scarred people in the long run experience God’s restorative grace. Abraham is called the friend of God! Wow! David is the man after God’s own heart. Really? What hope this gives me that although sin is a part of my story in the end it is NOT what defines me, rather God’s incomprehensible work of grace labels my life. It is beyond beautiful to me that perfect, holy, loving God comes into our weak, failed flesh and demonstrates what happens when His divine power is lived out in human life. Jesus shows us what it is to live the perfect life and then applies that perfect life through His willing death to our immense sin problem. God comes again into the human story to save us.
The advent of Jesus happens every day in hurting human hearts. His is perfect love and in perfect love there is nothing to fear. Are you trapped in a shameful sin? Come to Jesus. Are you hurting because of the disgusting sin choice of another? Come to Jesus. Change your name from ‘harlot’ or ‘abuser’ or ‘damaged’ to ‘the one after God’s own heart’. The power is sufficient when Jesus comes.
“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” 1 John 4:14-18