“Whenever God starts to work, whenever God starts to move, it always looks to us like undoing, rather than doing.” – Charles Spurgeon
I remember going to school and being bombarded in every classroom with motivational posters. They all followed the same pattern: gorgeous picture of a person running, or standing on the peak of a mountain, and then white text with some positive encouragement. As I grew older, I could not shake the feeling that all the calls to “get better everyday”, or that “anything is possible”, or how “special I am” were nothing more than desperate cries to a society of people who are stuck.
When I became a Christian, that motivation rhetoric became finding “God’s plan for your life”, or “seeing God work”, or watching “God move.” I remember nodding solemnly to these exclamations all the while wondering to myself what does that mean? Is God moving in my life? How do I know? Is it a feeling? Is it a magical moment where my life suddenly clicks and makes sense?
Is Christianity just a motivational poster? A life filled with step-by-step self-improvement?
It was dealing with a congregation of whining and ungrateful people in the desert for forty years and not the parting of the Red Sea that molded Moses’ character the most. I was not a birthright or riches that brought Jacob near to God, but an all-night wrestling match that resulted in a dislocated hip. It was not getting everything he wanted, but losing everything that he had that showed Job the deep love and sovereignty of God. And it was not ministry success, but a thorn in Paul’s side that drove him into deeper joy and intimacy with God.
And of course, there is Jesus. His life was one long undoing. Rejected, betrayed, abandoned, and ultimately, on the Cross, completely undone. And God was working. And God was moving. And on the Cross, God said that it was finished.