Why is it that when we walk into a kitchen and look at the floor, backsplash, or countertop we instantly recognize if it is hand-laid tile or prefabricated? For the answer, walk into that same kitchen with the one who laid the tile. As we admire the collective beauty, they lament their various minute mistakes. It is only the experienced craftsman that comes to rest and delight in the hope that the sum total of the numerous mistakes ultimately communicates authenticity.
God said Job was perfect. The circumstances of Job’s life, as well as his reaction to them, were anything but flawless, and yet God saw him as a “perfect and upright man” (Job 1:8). Noah was a “righteous man” (Genesis 6:9), Abraham was credited with “righteousness” (Romans 4:3), Zacharias and Elizabeth were “righteous before God…blameless” (Luke 1:6), even Lot is remembered as “righteous” (1 Peter 2:7). Were the lives of these men and women void of struggles in trust and obedience? Certainly not. And yet, God rested and even delighted in the understanding that the sum total of their numerous struggles ultimately communicated authenticity.
I find that all too often I want God to roll out my life like a prefabricated sheet of linoleum. I don’t mind an aesthetically pleasing pattern, but keep it consistent and predictable. I incessantly balk at the vicissitudes He introduces into the construction of my fellowship with him. But, God is not in the business of prefabricated lives. He lays out the individual narratives of our existence one tile at a time. He is the master artisan who delights in the authenticity of hand-crafted life.
Perhaps if we could discipline our view of individual struggles, fostering a meta-narrative perspective, we too could rest and delight in the authenticity of life in step with God.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. -Romans 8:1