The Beautiful Mess

The story of how our world and God's world collided...

I remember the morning our family asked God to give us a vision of what he wanted to do with our family.  We were uncomfortable with our current view of who we were in light of the story described in the Bible and who God called his people to be and the examples of people who had lived out that calling.  We had just read Acts 13 and we were intrigued how Paul and Barnabas had taken a prophecy from Isaiah and claimed that God had commanded them to fulfill it.  After discussing how crazy that would sound to tell others that God had commanded us to do or be something that had been written about in the Old Testament (seriously, who would believe that?) we got this strange sense that that was exactly what God was drawing us to do.

And so we asked the question, "God, is there a passage you have written for us to live out?"

We never dreamed it would be so simple and easy to find and yet so bold and dangerous to live out.  It didn't come in a surreal moment, written on a wall, seen in a dream, or through some mystical set of circumstances.  God has certainly used those means in the past to communicate his story to others.  But he simply kept bringing a passage of Scripture back into our world.  It wasn't a familiar passage from our childhood - in fact none of us had ever remembered reading it before.  Yet each time we read it we felt pulled into a world that God was radically recreating and a place where he is making all things beautiful.  It was as if he was saying I want you to go out and literally live out this passage.  Go find these people.  Share with them this story.  Invite them into my kingdom.  I want to use them and the things they have to make my house beautiful.

And so this passage when read is like an instrument that plays this amazing sound that make our hearts resonate and feel the stir of God's story coming alive in our midst, calling us to walk in ways we haven't known, going to places we haven't been and becoming people we didn't ever dream we could be.

Maybe you're reading this blog because you have longings similar to this... or maybe you're just intrigued and want to know more about what God is doing in our family.  Maybe this blog, of our story and God's story and how they collided together to create a beautiful mess, will begin to strangely resonate with you too.  Maybe it won't play that same sound for you.  I don't know.  God works in mysterious ways.  If there's one thing we've learned through all of this is that his thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not our ways.

But His story and your story can collide - if you let them.  And chances are it will wreck the world you thought you wanted and loved.  But as the dust settles it will also bring about something so amazingly beautiful.  A beauty that will create a wonderful and awesome fear of what He is doing and wants to do in and through you when you join him.

And so here's the part of His story that God stirred in us from Isaiah 60...

1 Arise, shine, for your light has come,
   and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
2For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
   and thick darkness the peoples;
but the LORD will arise upon you,
   and his glory will be seen upon you.
3 And nations shall come to your light,
   and kings to the brightness of your rising.
4 Lift up your eyes all around, and see;
   they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from afar,
   and your daughters shall be carried on the hip.
5Then you shall see and be radiant;
   your heart shall thrill and exult,
because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,
    the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
6A multitude of camels shall cover you,
   the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
   all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
   and shall bring good news, the praises of the LORD.
7All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to you;
   the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you;
they shall come up with acceptance on my altar,
    and I will beautify my beautiful house.
8Who are these that fly like a cloud,
   and like doves to their windows?
9For the coastlands shall hope for me,
    the ships of Tarshish first,
to bring your children from afar,
   their silver and gold with them,
for the name of the LORD your God,
   and for the Holy One of Israel,
   because he has made you beautiful.
10 Foreigners shall build up your walls,
   and their kings shall minister to you;
for in my wrath I struck you,
   but in my favor I have had mercy on you.
11 Your gates shall be open continually;
   day and night they shall not be shut,
that people may bring to you the wealth of the nations,
   with their kings led in procession.
12 For the nation and kingdom
   that will not serve you shall perish;
   those nations shall be utterly laid waste.
13 The glory of Lebanon shall come to you,
   the cypress, the plane, and the pine,
to beautify the place of my sanctuary,
   and I will make the place of my feet glorious.
14 The sons of those who afflicted you
   shall come bending low to you,
and all who despised you
   shall bow down at your feet;
they shall call you the City of the LORD,
   the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
15 Whereas you have been forsaken and hated,
   with no one passing through,
I will make you majestic forever,
   a joy from age to age.
16 You shall suck the milk of nations;
   you shall nurse at the breast of kings;
and you shall know that I, the LORD, am your Savior
   and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
17Instead of bronze I will bring gold,
   and instead of iron I will bring silver;
instead of wood, bronze,
   instead of stones, iron.
I will make your overseers peace
    and your taskmasters righteousness.
18 Violence shall no more be heard in your land,
   devastation or destruction within your borders;
you shall call your walls Salvation,
   and your gates Praise.
19 The sun shall be no more
   your light by day,
nor for brightness shall the moon
   give you light;
but the LORD will be your everlasting light,
   and your God will be your glory.
20Your sun shall no more go down,
   nor your moon withdraw itself;
for the LORD will be your everlasting light,
   and your days of mourning shall be ended.
21 Your people shall all be righteous;
    they shall possess the land forever,
the branch of my planting, the work of my hands,
   that I might be glorified.
22 The least one shall become a clan,
   and the smallest one a mighty nation;
I am the LORD;
   in its time I will hasten it.

Additional links for further study and research:
The Tribe of Kedar
The Flocks of Kedar
The Tribe of Nebaioth