Sunday, November 24, 2013

Life as a Masterpiece

A little over two months ago, I wrote about some changes happening in our lives after less than two months of marriage. At that time I had realized that in my life, it almost always took something perceived as bad to get me to someplace good, or at least to a place I needed to be. And so I resolved to tackle this change head-on, knowing that something better was ahead.

Sometimes I don't always remember the things I learn, even two months after I learn them. Because just this past week I was presented with another change, another situation initially perceived as bad, and my initial response was to wallow in feelings of sadness and failure. How easy it is to forget the truth when one little thing goes wrong.

So there I was this morning, sitting in church pouting to myself and feeling dissatisfied. I briefly thought I should snap out of it, but then decided I didn't want to. Why should I? I just wanted to soak in my unhappiness.

Then, once the sermon got underway, I had one of those moments where you feel like the sermon was written just for you, even though it's a series, so you know it wasn't. Or was it? Maybe God has a way of working through tiny things like that to speak to us where we are at, back of the church and all.

So the pastor starts teaching from Ephesians 2:1-10 and he has a catchy intro about Extreme Makeover shows and how this sermon is about Extreme Makeover: Spirit Edition and I think it's catchy but I'm not totally sold. Then toward the end he starts talking about how believers are God's masterpieces (which is what workmanship means), even when bad things happen.

He uses this illustration about a piano, how there are black and white keys and how the black keys have a sad, minor sound and for this illustration, represent the bad things that happen in our lives. Like if our lives were a song played out on the keys. But, he says, the black keys help fill out the song and give it depth and dimension and make it beautiful. He tells about how he was wondering if you could even play a whole song using just the white keys, and a pianist told him, yes, you could play "Chopsticks." And then he asks, "But who wants their life to be 'Chopsticks' for Jesus? Thank God for the black keys. Give thanks for all things, especially the hardships. That's what God uses to make our lives into something magnificent."

In that moment I knew there was a reason I dragged my moping self to church this morning, a reason why I needed to be there. I can either waste time looking backward at my life in the rear-view mirror, feeling sorry for myself and wishing things were different, or I can remember that a masterpiece includes the black keys, dark streaks of paint, pieces of clay cut off and cast away. I decided it was time to embrace the masterpiece that God is making, painful parts and all, and press forward. I don't know what he has planned next, but I'm so excited to find out.

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." - Ephesians 2:10

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