My wife is a talented seamstress and knitter. She has given herself to use the gifts and talents God has given her to create. I have seen the joy that this new work has given her and it has inspired me. There is something remarkably beautiful about seeing this woman create. However, like anything of worth, it is often hard for her to do the very thing she loves. And, if we’re honest, we all have the same struggles. Why is that?
Throughout the age of the church perhaps the biggest theological debate has been over the problem of evil. This is a debate that still stirs us today and can be summed up in a simple question: “If God is good, then why do bad things happen?” If God is all the things that make Him God (omnipresent, omniscient, all-powerful, all-knowing, holy, loving, etc.) then why or how could His creation look so, well, ugly sometimes. The ground was not even done cooling before Eve sunk her teeth into that Pandora’s box of a fruit. Couldn’t He have seen this? Couldn’t He have prevented this? Why even bother in the first place?
I will not pretend to have the answers to these questions. Men much wiser than I have grappled with them only to be left defeated. Yet, I believe I know at least a piece of the puzzle. God is daring. Creation always has been and always will be risky. To literally give of yourself to make something unique, to truly write something beautiful, takes sacrifice. God gave us His image and in doing so, He knew what He was risking but I believe He knew it was worth it too. He was willing to give what ever it took to finish His work. He knew that man would have the capacity to be like Him and He was willing to share His glory, and yet almost before He could finish calling His work good, it no longer was.
Going back to my initial question of why we struggle to do the things we most love, it may be that deep down, in the God-image part of us, we know that it may cost us everything. We know that there are things out there, that if we let them, we will love so much that we will die for them: peace, equality, food for the hungry, and so on. And we just aren’t sure that we are truly ready to sacrifice. It is frightening indeed to face the end of ourselves and not know, I mean KNOW, how it will all pan out. Praise God that He does not leave us alone there in the fear; He has shown us the way.
As I said, creation cost God. But it would soon cost Him everything. In the incarnation, God became flesh in the man of Jesus. He lived amongst us for several reasons, but most of all, to restore the Father’s prize. I love how human Jesus is at times. In the Garden before His betrayal, He felt most pointedly the sacrifice He would have to endure and for a moment wished it didn’t have to be. And on the cross, in agony, cried out to His Father the same question many of us in the dark night of our soul have been too afraid to ask, “Why have you forsaken me?”
In Jesus, God lost everything: His glory, and His life. Yet in Jesus, we gained everything: His glory and His life! That, my friends, is truly beautiful indeed. Beauty is not free, it may cost us everything, but it has always been and always will be worth it.
We welcome Michael Gallup as one of the “servers” at the Neighborhood Cafe. Michael will be writing our Monday blog. Michael once had a truck named possum. He is a member of The Neighborhood Church (tnc3.org) and is attending Denver Seminary. He writes a blog at www.asprigofhope.blogspot.com