DEVOTIONAL | SHANNON MILLER.
“No one has yet discovered the word Jesus ought to have said, none suggested the better word he might have said. No action of his has shocked our moral sense. None has fallen short of the ideal. He is full of surprises, but they are all the surprises of perfection.” – John Watson, Scottish minister and author in the late 1800s
Would you agree with Watson? I have definitely questioned the words and actions of the Lord – from His confusing sayings and parables, to the strange ways He healed, to the way He set aside earthly honors, to the impossibly small number of disciples He left behind to change the world… The stories of Jesus’ life on earth continually surprise me, but when I take a closer look, I find He is better than I had guessed. As Timothy Keller put it, “He is tenderness without weakness, strength without harshness, humility without the slightest lack of confidence, unhesitating authority with a complete lack of self-absorption, unbending convictions without the slightest lack of approachability, power without insensitivity, enthusiasm without fanaticism, holiness without Pharisaism, passion without prejudice. Nothing he does falls short. In fact, he’s always surprising you and taking your breath away because he’s so incomparably better than you could imagine for yourself. Why? The surprises you get when you read the life of Jesus are the surprises of perfection.”
What about the ways He has worked in my own life? Sometimes it’s very hard to see His perfection in my own story. I’ve asked so many times, “How could _this_ be Your will? How could _this_ be worked for my good?” And then weeks, months, or years later, I look back and see that through the very worst things, He was working the very best for me and those I love. Ann Voskamp writes that “when we look back, we see God’s back” – in that situation where His presence was invisible to us, later we see how He was working on our behalf, standing as our wall of protection, and showing us His glory as He showed Moses. She continues, “God reveals Himself in rearview mirrors. And I’ve an inkling that there are times when we need to drive a long, long distance, before we can look back and see God’s back in the rearview mirror. Maybe sometimes about as far as heaven — that kind of distance.”
I pray that today you can look back on your life so far, and see in it the surprises of Christ’s perfection. And for those dark patches where you just can’t see it yet, may you find assurance that one day in glory, it will all reveal a beautiful, loving plan.