peace WITH GOD
By McKenna Takach
July 18, 2020
Passages of the day: Click HERE to read today’s passages.
1 Chronicles 26:12-27:34
During college, I spent a semester studying theater in the UK. It was both a magical and dark time for me as I was confronted with many of my own demons in ways I never had been. I saw fifty theater productions that Fall, and if you know anything about live theater, you know it is much more emotionally draining than film. My guess is that’s because the people experiencing the story are literally right in front of you.
All that to say, by the middle of November, the darkness I encountered on the stage over and over had taken a serious toll on my spirit. The world seemed hopeless, merciless and evil and as far as I could tell, most people seemed content to just exist in the status quo. The world seemed big and the hope I had known because of my faith seemed very small. Paul’s words in the passage we read today in Romans felt hollow. Though I knew in my head I had “peace with God” through Jesus, my heart couldn’t accept the grace I hadn’t earned. It all felt meaningless.
And then, I saw Les Miserables at Queens Theatre in London.
There is a powerful moment in the musical where the protagonist, Jean Valjean, is caught stealing silver from the priest who took him in during his time of need. The police find Valjean and drag him back to the kind-hearted priest, dumping the silver they had found on the floor as evidence of his crime. Valjean hangs his head in shame before the priest, assuming he would be brought back to the prison from which he came.
But in a moment that changed the whole atmosphere of the theater, the priest dismisses the police, telling them the stolen goods had actually been a gift, and that Valjean, in his haste had forgotten the best of the silver. In one of my favorite moments in both literature and theater, the priest kneels down and hands Valjean even more than he had stolen, and says:
But remember this, my brother
See in this some higher plan
You must use this precious silver
To become an honest man
By the witness of the martyrs
By the passion and the blood
God has raised you out of darkness
I have bought your soul for god!
By the time the curtain closed, I was a sopping mess of tears. I was Valjean, face pressed to the floor, receiving a gift I hadn’t earned from the one whom I had wronged. And while I had expected God’ love to feel painful, he was gentle and kind and excited to give it to me. I had remembered the contagious and beautiful power of Grace.
We are in a season where it is tempting to think the evil around us is big, and the hope we have in Jesus is small. Our age is one of offense, where it is easy to cloister ourselves away from the rest of the world to protect what we think is ours. But the contagious nature of grace makes this impossible! We were made to boast in the “hope of the glory of God” and we cannot boast in Christ when we are afraid of what we might lose in the process of extending grace. As you embrace the grace God offers you today, I would implore you like the priest implored Valjean – See in even this season some higher plan! Life is full of purpose, even now.
Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,
and he will reward them for what they have done.
— Proverbs 19:7
Prayer to start with: God, during these difficult times, we know you have a bigger plan. Our hope is in you because we know your plan for us is grand. Help us to remember that we are not here to just merely exist, but to exalt your name- in all circumstances and seasons. Amen.