The latest series at my church was about the life of Jacob and how God changed the world through his dysfunctional family. Below are some things I learned about how God can work in the midst of messy situations.
- When it comes to humanity, God always has the long game in mind. No matter how complicated someone’s life is at a specific moment, God wants to redeem the situation for his glory.
“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” (Ephesians 1:7, NLT)
- God wants everyone to be saved.
This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
Dietrich Bonhoeffer once stated:
“The cross is not the private property of any human being, but it belongs to all human beings; it is valid to all human beings; it is valid for all human beings. God loves our enemies- this is what the cross tells us. God suffers for their sake, experiences misery and pain for their sake; the Father has given his dear Son for them. Everything depends on this: that whenever we meet an enemy, we immediately think: this is someone whom God loves; God has given everything for this person.”
- Jesus blesses us in the way that is described in Matthew 5:3-12. These ways (poor in spirit, mourning, persecuted, etc) can be opposite to the way the world typically views blessing. This means that having power does not necessarily mean that God is blessing you. After all, the authority of all the kingdoms of the world were given to the devil, and he could have given them to anyone he wanted to (Luke 4:5-7)
- Even if we have been shown the faith well by our parents, it is still a challenge to make faith our own.
In The Wounded Healer, Henri Nouwen states:
Instead of the father, the peer becomes the standard. Many young people who are completely unimpressed by the demands, expectations, and complaints of the big bosses of the adult world, show a scrupulous sensitivity to what their peers feel, think, and say about them. Being considered an outcast or a dropout by adults does not worry them, but being excommunicated by the small circle of friends to which they want to belong can be an unbearable experience. Many young people may even become enslaved by the tyranny of their peers. While appearing indifferent, casual, and even dirty to their elders, their indifference is often carefully calculated, their casualness studied in the mirror, and their dirty appearance based on a detailed imitation of their friends.