You Can Never Be Undone
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people." Genesis 50:20 (NLT)
It can be a real mess out there. And the crazy thing is, there can be whole rising muck of stuff on the inside too.
And yet — we do it anyways: String up a tangle of lights. Set a musty angel atop the tree.
Deck the front porch and the back streets and the whole tilted world in this twinkling robe, this tinseled robe. Watch how the whole world spins round in these lit colors.
But as much as the world decorates and prepares for Christmas, it's like the hem of our robe is dirty and dragging; there's always the ripped underside of things, the dreams and bits of us and unspoken hopes, all torn to pieces.
You can feel this — in a torn-up world, you feel a bit torn apart.
When you are brave, you give yourself the gift of facing and touching your own torn places. The places where we're torn to pieces — can be thin places where we touch the peace of God.
Like Joseph, in the book of Genesis, who reaches out touches his own worn-thin place. He feels along the edges of the torn places, and he sees through, telling his brothers that verse we can hold onto like a gift today: "You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good."
What was intended to tear you apart, God intends it to set you apart.
Whatever has torn you, God makes a thin place to see glory. Whatever happens, whatever unfolds, whatever unravels, you can never be undone.
You can stand around a Christmas tree with a family tree like Joseph's, with cheaters and beaters and deceivers. Or his dad, Jacob, who ran away and ran around and ran folks down.
But out of a family line that looks like a mess, God brings the Messiah. What was intended to harm, God intended all of it for good, and no matter what intends to harm you, God's arms have you. You can never be undone.
No matter what intends to harm you ... God is never absent, never impotent, never distant.
You can never be undone.
In the middle of all our collective mess stands the most monstrous evil. The wood of the crèche that held baby Jesus lies torn apart behind the wood of the Cross. The cries of the innocent Babe under the stars of Bethlehem twist into the agonized cries of the innocent victim atop the injustice of Calvary.
The holy dark over the manger gives way to the heinous dark over the Messiah and the slamming hammer and the tearing vein and the piercing thorn — the created murdering the Creator.
The Cross stands as the epitome of evil.
And yet God takes the greatest evil ever known to humanity and turns it into the greatest Gift you have ever known.
"If the worst things work for good to a believer, what shall the best things?" writes puritan Thomas Watson. "Nothing hurts the godly ... all things ... shall cooperate for their good, that their crosses shall be turned into blessings."
If God can transfigure the greatest evil into the greatest Gift, then He intends to turn whatever you're experiencing now into a gift. You cannot be undone.
Somewhere, Advent can storm and howl and look messy.
And still, the world all robed for Christmas can spin bravely and beautifully on — holding on to a God who won't let you be undone.
Lord, we come to You not because You are our last hope, but because You are our first love. We're coming to You before we do anything at all because waiting on You is wisest of all. We trust You to work all this out in Your good time. You are only good. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 8:28, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (ESV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Just as Joseph forgave his brothers, think of one person you can forgive today.
Write down that person's name on a piece of paper. Then write out your thanks to God for taking that evil and making it good, and for His promise that no matter what is done to you, He will not let you be undone.