Sunday, April 15, 2012

Where We Are In The Story

In March, my friend MaKayla and I went to a big Spring Celebration in her neighborhood. It was awesome. There were bounce houses, pink ponies (real ones, with sparkles!) and face painting booths. Ronald McDonald was there too, and a few other clowns who knew how to make cool stuff out of balloons. Of all the amazing things to do in one afternoon, MaKayla's first choice was the arts and crafts table. A girl after my own heart, MaKayla likes to make stuff. We heard there was a bracelet making table so we went there right away. 

I wasn't sure what to expect out of a bracelet making table at a party for over two thousand people, but I was a little bit surprised to find that the bracelets were "Story Bracelets." The kits came with a certain amount of beads with certain colors, which tell the story of God's love- The Story of history. Luckily, MaKayla and I love stories about as much as we love crafts, so it only doubled our excitement to be telling a story and making art at the same time. Not only that, we were pretty excited about the fact that the most important story of history- the story that our very lives are a part of- is in fact, a beautiful piece of art. And we were excited to have a beautiful, daily reminder of it to take around with us. 

It's a pretty simple synopsis, but it's a good one: 

Black beads- us in our sin, separated from God. 
Red beads- God's love shed abroad for us in the blood of His own Son, Jesus, on the Cross, to buy us back from sin. 
White beads- us washed and cleansed from sin and made to share in the new life Jesus won for us by being raised from the dead after dying on the Cross!
Green beads- our continued growth in the new life we've been given; learning to grow up as God's adopted children, to "look like Him"; to share the family resemblance
Yellow beads- the consummation that we get to look forward to when Jesus comes back and our new life in Him is fully revealed and experienced; when the very presence of sin and its damaging effects are erased from the world. 

I asked MaKayla where we are in the story right now; she pointed to the white beads. It was fun to tell her that she's correct- all of those who are in Christ are "white as snow"- but also to teach her about the fact that new life with Christ isn't stagnant- we are growing. We are learning how to walk in the newness of life we have in Christ, and that's called sanctification. It's hard but good. She and I are both experiencing it, and it's good to have the visual reminder of a hard thing sandwiched between two very beautiful things: new life that is already ours in Christ and perfected life that we await eagerly in Christ's return to "restore all things." 

Growth in Christ- sanctification- is hard because of just that fact. It's "sandwiched" between the times. Christ has already accomplished victory over sin- He has ransomed His own and raised them to new life. But He has not yet inaugurated the fullness of His reign over the earth, in which the very presence of sin and all its reside will be crushed. We are new creatures, God's adopted children and fully belonging to Him; but we still live in a world of sadness, experiencing the fallout of our own brokenness and of those around us. MaKayla and I both need to remember that we live between the times. We have been made new, but we don't experience that newness "in full" quite yet. 

But we are moving in that direction, and it's exciting! It's easier to persevere in the hard stuff when you know how the Story ends. 

1 comment:

the hannahs said...

this made my heart smile :]

- hannah g