Okay… some of my recent time with a sage/guide/counselor was focused on my being an “unfinished” man. One might think that little time need be spent on that topic at all. But alas, it was needed!
While God has romanced me since birth, and I have chosen to follow him for 37 years… there is still much more for me to experience of God’s transforming and gracious fathering heart. There always will be. I can point to significant healing/change/growth over the decades yet I there are times, people and circumstances, in which I, still, do not live, love or relate as I want (Romans chapter 7).
“Still crazy after all these years” – Paul Simon
There is a grace, and a freedom in recognizing that in this life, Act III of The Larger Story, we will always be “unfinished”… in need desperate need of God, humble, able to embrace and offer forgiveness.
I shouldn’t have been surprised that my wonderful counselor saw a part of my soul that was closed to God and others, detached and self-protective… but I was!
While that is all true a more important reality I was reminded of is that I, like you, am also a glorious image bearer who was wonderfully crafted in the womb by God for a unique and mythic role in this grand story of the Kingdom of God invading planet earth with the Good News of deliverance, freedom, restoration, life, hope and joy! I regularly forget this!
It’s actually amazing that God chooses to use “unfinished” man to accomplish his redemptive rescue of others! You’d think he’d wait for our perfection, for our being “finished”, a little further along in our sanctification prior to using us in significant ways wouldn’t you? After all, it’s to everyone’s benefit that I’m a little holier, more loving, more “present”, stronger and wiser isn’t it?
Picture God’s “Army” hitting the beaches and the front of the landing craft opens to spill the invading force upon the enemy. It’s not a squadron of well armed finely tuned special forces that storm the enemies pill boxes… its more like Ms. Evan’s third grade class wandering ashore, it’s a guy in a Hawaiian shirt with a book and his beach chair strolling off, two guys wearing uniforms but missing their guns, its a slick dude in a business suit and a gal carrying a big Bloomingdales bag followed by an overweight middle aged guy from Pittsburgh with stains on his shirt finishing off his little carton of Kung Pau Chicken. You’re in shock, “That’s God’s invasion force? Those are the ones he’s entrusted his rescue of mankind to?”
Yep!!!!!!! That’s the Army he’s chosen… and we're a part of it. God has chosen the weak, the unfinished, and the not-quite-all-together to bring the Kingdom. Amazing! We’re unfinished and we’re a part of this grand mission.
AND IT WORKS… It’s always been that way…
Remember Moses (Exodus 3) God sees the misery/oppression of his people and taps Moses on the shoulder while he’s in attending to the routines of life (tending the flock) and calls him to be the deliverer of God’s people from the Super-Power of the day. Moses, knowing he’s not quite the “deliverer” type responds, “Who me? Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”… to which God responds, “I will be with you”. Very few of us would evaluate ourselves as being up for the task/role God has for us.
Then Gideon (Judges 6) is scared to death and hiding in the hills from the dreaded enemies of the day and God shows up and addresses him as “Mighty Warrior”???? – and assigns him the task of setting the people free from oppression. Gideon, like us, is skeptical that God could really have such a role for him. He’s unfinished… yet God chooses him! What has he chosen you for? What name has he called you that, perhaps, at the moment, seems absurd?
There’s David (1Samuel 16) the runt of the family being chosen over his seven older, “more suited” brothers to be king of Israel. Solomon – (1Kings 3) confronted with the task of being king cries out to God, “I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties”. He’s unfinished man who is about to be a king! Jeremiah as well (Jeremiah 1) responds to God’s call saying, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child…". Unfinished!
The Minor Theme is we’re unfinished, a ruin, a wreck… I let people down, detach, hide, withhold friendship/relationship, get distracted…. Yadda, yadda, yadda. I have hurt people by the way I've lived... I wish I was much different... and I am different than I was a year ago... "Oh God come for me, continue to restore and transform me!".
AND The Major Theme is that, you and me are key players, glorious beings God is using to bring life, salvation, deliverance to others. We are changing the world! I needed a sage to remind me of that.
- Craig McConnell