Seeing with Godly Eyes (Part 3)

Seeing with Godly Eyes (Part 3)

The renaissance artist Michelangelo once stated, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” [1]

That amazes me, because I have never been one of those people who can see something for what it could become. To see something not as it is, but as it could be. Someone who can take a simple piece of wood, a block of marble, a blank canvas ... and with a little shaping and cutting, chiseling and hammering, smoothing out and rounding edges, adding lines and shapes and depth and contours, with a little color here, some shading there … and turn the ordinary into a work of art.

To take something in one state and transform it into something new: that, to me, is an amazing thing.

It’s even more amazing to take something broken, or not working well, and try to repair it. I’d have a better chance of winning the lottery than being able to repair a broken alarm clock. I would be the most useless person to stop on the side of the road to help a broken down car. I could hold a flashlight and keep the hood from falling on someone more competent; that’s about all I’d be good for! It’s just not in my knowledge set or gifting.

But my friend Alex is completely different. Alex has a gift for building furniture. I’ve seen him take an old tree and build a desk. Boards from an old barn are transformed into a king-size bed. He loves taking broken-down furniture and restoring its beauty. He carefully, lovingly, takes off old varnish and layers of paint or stain, and creates something beautiful.

That’s the process of restoration. Of taking something old and making it new, making it what it was meant to be. I always find it incredible to see something that once was broken, but now is being made whole. Something that didn’t function that is given new life. To see it fulfill its purpose once more.

There’s this story that is found in the Gospel of Mark (see 5:1-20). Other Gospels have it, but I love Mark’s version. As Jesus crosses the sea, he enters the realm of a monster. At least, that’s how others would have described him. This man terrorized the region, for he was a terrifying sight. He ran around naked. He cut himself with rocks and screamed in pain, rage, and fear. Horror movies could have been made about this guy. He lived in a cemetery by the sea surrounded by the grave markers of the dead. And the man (if you could call him a man) wished that he was dead, too.

Many had tried to bind him; they had chained him up for his own protection—or for theirs. But he wound break the chains and escape, because “no one could bind him anymore … no one was strong enough to subdue him” (vv. 3, 4).

But he was bound, chained, imprisoned … by the demons that possessed and controlled him. They called themselves “Legion, for [they were] many” (v. 9). So everyone steered clear. No one would dare to approach him, because you just didn’t know what he might do.

No one … except Jesus.

When Jesus landed with his boat, this man came out “to meet him.” Whether it was to scare him or because the demon was scared of him, we simply don’t know.

And here we have a showdown. But it isn’t much of a showdown, because Jesus commanded, the demons complained and then came out of him, and the man found peace.

And when the villagers came to investigate, they found a sight that terrified them just as much: the once-crazed, demon-possessed man, who had been naked and bleeding and afraid, was “sitting there, dressed and in his right mind … and they were afraid!” (v. 15).

When Jesus was leaving, the man begged to go with him. But Jesus asked him to stay: “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he had mercy on you” (v. 19).

Stay, and every time you walk through town people will remember how great God is. Every time people talk with you, they will remember your story. Every normal interaction, every daily routine, every normal activity, will continue to remind people of how your life was changed and how good God is.

Restoration is taking something broken and making it whole; taking something old and making it what it was meant to be.

When Jesus looks at a person, he sees past problems—the dirt, the chipped paint, the broken edges and the splinters, the wobbly legs—and visualizes the potential. He sees what could be when the Restorer begins to work on that life.

It was what Jesus was great at doing. When they met Jesus, lepers would leap for joy. People who once couldn’t walk would now dance in celebration. The blind would see, the deaf would hear, the mute would sing praises to God. People who were considered “unclean” would be embraced by Jesus and become pure. Sinners would find a compassionate Savior who would listen to them and love them, who would meet them where they were and take them to where God wanted them to be.

Jesus was a restorer! He would take brokenness and make it whole. The sick would be made well. Sinners would find salvation. Those who were dead (spiritually, emotionally, even physically) would be brought to life!

Nothing and no one was outside of the restoration of his grace.

[1] Take the quote with a grain of salt; it is widely attributed to him on the internet, but as Abraham Lincoln once said, “Don’t trust everything you read online.”

Rituals and Memory

Rituals and Memory

Welcome (Back) to Seasons!

Welcome (Back) to Seasons!