The Season Has Changed. (And So Have I.)
by Pastor Gene
I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it” (1 Corinthians 3:2).
Mary and I love art! So, recently we took in an exhibition in Boston at the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum called, Fra Angelico: Heaven on Earth. Fra Angelico was a truly breath-taking painter of the early renaissance. He was a very devout man. It’s said that whenever he attempted to paint the Crucifixion, he’d weep throughout the entire process. He’d pray before he ever allowed his hand to touch the brush – asking God to use his humble hands to glorify Himself. And when he was finished, he would never second guess or retouch any of his paintings. He’d felt that since he’d asked God to worked through him, it would be wrong to change anything.
In his pictures, God is certainly glorious! Magnificent. Wholly other. Rays of glory emanate from the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit in rays of light so meticulous that they had to be painted with brushes bearing only a single bristle!
I was very moved by this exhibition. It was actually a very emotional experience for me. Contemplating the majesty and the glory with which God was portrayed; considering the truths of the final judgement, about which our Lord had so much to say; pondering the reality of Heaven, populated as it is with so many people whom I love – and also the reality of Hell, which awaits all who reject God’s gracious offer of the salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord; and thinking about the reality of the kingdom of darkness, working as it does to destroy all that God has built – it all just really got to me in a way that I hadn’t expect it to.
We stuck around to hear a little 15-minute talk by one of the presenters at the museum and she said something that really struck me – something that made sense of the way I was feeling. She talked about the way Fra Angelico’s work has been presented through the centuries – first in churches, now in art museums. She said that we can look at these images over and over again and each time they affect us in a different way. Sometimes we almost ignore them, barely give them a second thought. But then, at other times, we look at them and we’re completely god-smacked and thunderstruck. Then she said this: “The art never changes, but we do.”
And I thought, that’s exactly right. I wouldn’t have been as moved by these images ten years ago. I couldn’t have been, but I’ve changed. I’m in a different place in my life today. I’m more mature. More of my life has passed with the river under the bridge.
I think the reason that these paintings moved me so powerfully that day is that I was only ready to really see them then – in the 8th month of my 54th year. That’s when I was ready to see them. Before then, they couldn’t have mattered to me like they did on that day. I just wasn’t ready yet.
The art hadn’t changed.
And then I started to think about how God’s Word is just like that. I started thinking about a verse that’s been my obsession for some time now. John 6:63, which literally says, “The words that I have once-and-for-all spoken to you, they keep on being spirit and they keep on being life.”
I’ve thought about this verse every single day for several months now. And I’ve been asking God, ‘Lord, let your Words be spirit and life for me today.’
Hasn’t this happened to you? You read some verses from the Bible – the very same verses you read last year and the year before – verses that your eyes just sort of grazed over without much thought. But today, THIS day, they stun you, knock you back on your heels, completely arrest your attention, rock you with a force you couldn’t have anticipated.
But why didn’t it hit you like that the first 18 times you’d read it? Simple! Because you weren’t ready to truly see it yet. God meant for you to see it – to truly see it – today. In fact, all of the seasons of life through which you’ve passed have conspired to prepare you for THIS day. And so, today, it hit you like a dart to the heart.
Your maturity and your walk with God – your victories and your defeats – have prepared you to receive this very Word as spirit and life on THIS VERY DAY. Paul said, “I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it” (1 Corinthians 3:1-2). But today, THIS day, you were ready for it.
The season has changed. And so have you!
O what a wonder is this glorious journey through the seasons with our good, good God!
To consider …
- What examples of this ‘you’ll see-it-when-you’re-ready principle have you experience in your life?
- Consider how your Heavenly Father has been working in you through the many seasons of life – nurturing you, molding you, preparing you for greater and greater truths, greater understanding of His Word.
- Paul invites us to walk in the newness of life each day (Romans 6:4).
What are you expecting God to show you today?
Which of part of His Word will become spirit and life for you today?
- Take time to shower Him with thanksgiving and praise today!
April 23, 2018
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