The verse, in the ESV translation says, "We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God will not take away life, and he devises means so that the banished one will not remain an outcast." (emphasis mine)
I love that line, he devises means. He creates, he comes up with, he prepares a way, means, path that he will use to bring his people to himself.
I, generally, think he uses trials and difficulties. And He does. We rely on God in our despair, in our challenges, at our wits end. But God also uses the beautiful, celebratory, wonderful things of life to draw others. As needed. Individually.
Seriously, have you read RC Sproul's testimony?
... [the captain of the football team] quoted Ecclesiastes 11:3: "Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there will it lie." I just feel certain I'm the only person in church history that was converted by that verse. God just took that verse and struck my soul with it. I saw myself as a-a log that was rotting in the woods. And I was going nowhere.God devises means.
(How cool is that?!?)
Anyway, that's not actually the point of my post. My point is that sometimes he uses our joy, our feasting, our celebrations within community to draw people to himself.
Sally Clarkson knows this. She writes about it in Chapter 10 of Own Your Life. (My goal is to finish it by the end of the year. A few chapters to go, here's hoping!)
An artist is greatly praised when his admirers enjoy and approve the excellence of his creative works. When we take time to celebrate what is truly good and enjoy all that our havenly Father has made for our pleasure, we honor Him. A thankful heart that recognizes the blessings of a meal well made, a song magnificently composed, a garden well planted, or a massage skillfully given is a heart that delights in the goodness of God and shares in His joy. As people celebrate fun, beauty, creativity, and feasting, God opens many hearts so they want to know Him who is vastly beyond our limited imaginations. (pg 134)Our delight, wonder, reveling can be used by God to draw his people to the kingdom. What an encouragement that is! We can be - ought to be - rejoicing in joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory. (1 Peter 1:8 ... I really should memorize that!)
Yes, standing strong in the face of trial is important. Yes, speaking up on the principles of the faith is important. Yes, oftimes these things are diametrically opposed to our culture and look dour or "hateful" ... yet truth is always beautiful and lovely.
But, we have something to offer the world: we have Jesus who changes hearts and allows for true joy to shine through. And that joy is something we savor. Taste and see that the Lord is good, Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him (Ps 34:8). When we taste his goodness, we desire what is good always. When we work to celebrate and enjoy that which is pleasant, others notice. And they, too, taste and see.
He is vast. He is big. We cannot comprehend. We cannot imagine we can comprehend. There is more to taste and see. There are more to call to the kingdom.
God devises means.
So, I couldn't decide on which graphic. I like the first art, but the phrase "vastly beyond our limited imaginations." is the one I wanted to emphasize.
Which one should I pin?