It’s Monday, and the little world around me is waking up groggily, sipping coffee and scrolling through Twitter, trying to wake up and wondering where another wonderful summer weekend went. Poolside afternoons have faded to pagers beeping and printers whirring and emails interrupting the 90-degree heat.
Hello, new week.
I ride the train on these Mondays, these weekday mornings, and – although it could be partly the coffee talking – my heart is soaring. I look at all of these people, all of these faces, rumbling towards downtown on the light rail with me. Going to work and college. Some napping. Some reading. Some looking out the thick train windows, watching the pink sunrise cast the downtown skyline in a silhouette.
A lady is swaying gently to the beat of whatever is in her headphones. The man across from me is attempting to disarm the voice activation feature on his smartphone…and is thus speaking loudly to an inanimate object in the middle of a crowd of strangers (LOL). A jolly-looking guy with just a tiny bit of a belly is laughing heartily at the screen of his iPhone, and I wonder if he was watching Netflix or simply reading text messages from his wife.
Something about this time is extraordinary.
To think…God knew these would be our movements this morning. He fashioned us perfectly, purposefully, so that we could do these little things. Fill these spaces. Ride these trains. Be a part of the pulse of this city. Once upon a time, God drew a circle on the map of my life in the exact spot I am standing now. And the same goes for you.
I often wonder to myself, “did God actually do it all, sacrifice it all, craft it all…just so that we could do this? Live ordinary lives? Ride the train and shop for groceries and corral kids into classrooms and answer emails?”
“Did God make me so that I could listen to Phil Wickham on my afternoon run?” (current fav)
“Did God so love the world so that I could snap at my friends and snap at my parents, and then come to Him, repentant?”
“Did God give His One and Only so that I could stumble out of bed into a broken world every Monday morning?”
This, I think, is one of the things I was put on this earth to tell you. Yes. God made, and God loved, and God gave so that we could live lives that are full – full of both big moments and ordinary joys. It all matters.
Here’s the thing. God didn’t just plop us on to this earth as if by an afterthought. He didn’t just birth us in this country, in our cities, in our homes, and with our families as if by accident.
And here’s the thing – if you believe, as I so strongly do, that these things were not by accident, then it follows that nothing is an accident. Nothing.
I mean, it wouldn’t make sense if God the Father divinely chose certain events, certain encounters, and certain meet-ups to happen, but allowed other things to just slip through the cracks. Then he wouldn’t be the all-knowing, all-good, all-purposeful, all-powerful God that He is. And friends – HE IS. He knows. He’s good. He’s full of purpose. He’s powerful.
And yes, I believe that even the things in life that are SO hard, the fires that we’re thrown into, the bruises that we don’t feel like we deserved, the news that changes everything. Even the things that suck. These things are not God’s choice for His children, but He still uses them. Even our mistakes and the times we make big messes. God gives us the freedom to choose, but He still uses that stuff. It becomes a teachable moment, not treachery.
Why? Because everything is designed to draw us nearer to the Father. The good teaches us to know Him, and the bad teaches us to lean on Him with everything. The happy teaches us to praise Him, and the grief teaches us to question Him again and again and again until we come out trusting. He promised to make us more and more like Jesus, closer and closer to Himself, our whole lives long. And He is faithful to do just that.
He is crafting us into the finest Gold. The tools He uses take all kinds of shapes and sizes – good, bad, ugly and everything in between. But I believe so strongly that he chooses each and every shaping tool on purpose.
Friend, I’m talking to you today. Imagine I’m sitting beside you with a cup of coffee, or imagine that I’ve just sent you a letter in the mail.
I know how badly it hurts. That news, that person, that shattered dream, that anxiety. I know that ache. I’ve known it before, and I’ll know it again.
But I believe more than ever that you are gold. You are being refined with an undeniable beauty by a trustworthy and good craftsman. And that stuff that you’re made of is gonna shine brighter and brighter your whole life long, polished by moments of all kinds – ordinary, extraordinary, excruciating, and all. It all matters.
It’s a new week. The Craftsman is at work. So, take heart.
You are Golden, shining brighter with every passing Monday.