Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Have you ever watched a group of young children being taught a bible lesson? They might be bored or distracted, but unveil a prop and, instantly, they’ll perk up, sit up, and focus. It can be the most mundane visual—an ordinary glass jar half filled with water—and it still has power, grabbing attention, keeping interest.

For all our sophistication and maturity, us adults can be much the same as children, can’t we? When we see something, we better understand; when a story also has a picture, we’re more likely to remember details; when an abstraction has a visual, we’re more likely to... believe.

Faith is confidence in things hoped for and conviction of things we can’t see.

But God, because He made us, knows us, and wired us, has filled His world with paintings, sculptures, and set designs that illustrate His Story.

The Word became flesh. Visible. We picture not the Person, but we break bread and drink wine as a picture of the sacrifice.

Flesh buried, raised, and now, though invisible, with visual reminders woven into the very ordinances of His church. “As long as you do this, do this in remembrance of me.”

His Truth, illustrated by things both beautiful and barren, fills not just His church but also His world.

Things unseen, confirmed by what we see.

Theologians describe it like this: special revelation—His Word—tells us the Story of Redemption; general revelation—His World—illustrates it.

Our faith may be in Someone invisible, but around each bend, the unveiling of things He’s made remind us of those things He's told, things we see with eyes of faith.

This past weekend, another snowfall in Toronto; another layer of frozen white upon frozen ground. The story of Redemption with the picture of purifying love. "You, with all your sin, with all your stains, with all your blemishes and failures and ugliness... You are my bride and I will make you as white as snow."

We’re in the days leading up to Good Friday and Easter. Forty days.

The ground is yet hard, frozen, lifeless. Will new life come from this hardened place?

We believe what He’s written, that Christian paradox, that we only learn to live as we learn to die.

Yet still we hear ourselves ask: What about me? Are you remaking me? Are you bringing about new life?  

Because we know that new life never grows out of ground that is frozen hard and dead cold.

Each year, the picture: Winter's black and white gives way to Spring's vibrant color. It’s the same every year and yet, like the child listening to a story, we can’t help but sit up and notice. 

Forty days until Easter.

Quietly...  Hard ground is being softened and He is bringing forth new life.