Black and white. Think about that. No, really. They're opposites, right? How many opposites can you think of?
Ok, now that you've had a minute, here are some more. Day and night. Big and small. Good and evil. Right and wrong. Reading in Genesis this evening while the kids played in the yard I realized two things. One, that I live in paradise. Great kids, great husband, and of course Jesus! Hello!? Two, that God digs contrast. All right, enough with the kinder lesson, Crystal. You can surely do better than this, right? Nope.
It's becoming increasingly apparent to me that contrast is here for a reason. Differences are here for a reason. We all know and have heard all our lives (hopefully) that we're unique. As I look at my three kids, I can't say they're the same. I can say a lot of positive things about them, but I can't say that they're the same. They have similarities beyond the obvious (they're human, they're little Senzigs) and although Ryan was a ringer for my husband as a baby and Richie and Maelynn's baby pictures look just like mine, there are still differences. But why? Wouldn't it be easier to just throw out the nice, round biscuit cutter and slap out a bunch of the same thing so that we'd all get along, all the time, and everyone would always look the same, eat the same thing, etc. No fights, right? Sounds awesome! Eeh, maybe not.
If you never saw dark, how would you know light?
If you were never tired, how would you know what it was like to be rested?
If you never dealt with turmoil, how would we know peace?
Aah, no sin. I'd never be angry with myself over doing the things I hate ever again. Things like letting little things get to me. I know better! I've been a Christian since I was twelve. I'm thirty-two. You'd think twenty years would be enough to make me stop being stupid like that. But I can't! I'm just a human. A stinky, sinful, selfish human. Not self-degradation... fact. I'm so thankful that God sees me through Jesus-colored glasses. Which brings me to the greatest contrast of all... and the most one-sided. Jesus versus regular old people. Perfect versus hopelessly imperfect.
Whoa, what a downer! No, hang in there. Stay with me. And hang on tight...
Why are we here? Simple answer... to glorify God. We can't do that on our own. We need Jesus. We need God's Word to teach us about His personality so that we can understand how He thinks, so that we might begin to think like Him. To want what He wants for our lives, to want to be like Him, to shine His love through everything we do... even changing diapers, folding socks, teaching kids to play a clarinet so that it sounds like music and doesn't stir the attention of the local SPCA. Everything. So that as we go about the things we have set before us every day we are living, breathing, speaking bibles, exuding the love of Christ. Even driving. Yep. I know. Me too.
It seems that every time we get together in Sunday school, small group, whatever and talk about how we should be as Christians and how to better do that, we always come back to one thing if we go deep enough... we should WANT to do these things. We should strive to think like Jesus so much that things are automatic. Giving, smiling, epathizing, just being less blasted self-centered should be automatic. But why aren't they?
That's not the way we're made. Yep, that's the answer. We're sinful. We need Jesus. As we read through our kids' storybook bible again and again, every time, it's brought to my attention how the whole book is centered around God loving us so much that He sent His Son so that we might not perish. Might. We can! We can choose to burn like toast when I'm not paying attention and Ryan has pushed down the button three times. But we have an out... we have a Saviour. We're stinky. God meant for us to live with Him, but we had to go and get too big for our britches in the garden. But why? Isn't God in charge? Yes. He is. And it's because I know that fact... it's because He lives within my heart and makes my life utterly amazing... that I trust that His Word is true. That He is IT. The I-AM. The only God. It makes me so sad to hear of and see people who are so lost... so far away from the light and air that is a relationship with Jesus... that they don't even know the difference. They've lived in the dark so long they wouldn't know light if it smacked them in the chops. If you're a Christian (and gee, I hope you are... if you're not, we can totally fix that with one heartfelt prayer) you've undoubtedly been either in an argument or heard of one where a certain unbeliever challenged a believer. There's nothing wrong with seeking and asking probing questions! This is great... when the asker wants the answer. But there are some who are just so far to the "dark side" that only the Holy Spirit has the words. You know, the ones where it gets down to "well, how do you know the Bible is true", etc. At that point, you can blast 'em with all the history and knowledge of Bible stats you have stored in your cranium, and that's great (hey, you're doing better than I), but if they're not willing to believe, they won't get it. I could go all Ephesians 1:11 on you here, but that's a whole other Geraldo.
So why go to all this trouble in the first place? Why not He's God, right? He can do whatever He wants, right? Exactly. And I'm at peace with the fact that His thoughts are higher than mine, as are His ways. That means that I'm okay with not knowing why. You know what? I can't see one good reason why Ryan has autism. I can't see one good reason why our second pregnancy miscarried. Those things are hard. I spent a lot of time shaking my fist at God over those things and more and screaming with tears flowing from my eyes, "WHY?!" Admittedly. you know what I learned?
He's God. He's in charge. That's why.
I also learned that He can take all the tantrums I want to throw. And He still loves me. I can't help but think He likes it when we're gut-level, no-holds-barred, no sugar on it honest. After all, He knows our thoughts. He knew us before we were born, before we were even conceived. He was there "In the Beginning"... He saw the light, and it was good. He saw the dark, and it was good. He saw the separation between the two, and for some reason, decided some contrast was a good thing. Why? I have no idea. I could come up with some, but you know what? The best, most honest answer I have is simply this... He's God. He can do what He wants, and I trust that what He wants is what's best for me. I could go on and on about why I believe He knows all and best, the things He's done for me, how living for Christ doesn't make my life easy, but it DOES make it WONDERFUL, which it certainly does, but the very best answer for why I believe is still a line from that old hymn... "You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart."
Hey, it's worked beautifully so far. Got a better reason than experience?