God delights to meet with His people. Gathering, walking, talking, abiding in each other’s presence, this is the agenda and heart of God and all of His efforts ever since the beginning of time have been unto relationship, and since the fall, have been about restoring relationship.
Within the text of Genesis, right at the start in chapter three, we find God restoring dignity to mankind and covering over what had already been lost.
“The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21, is not just a nice little verse about the newest fashions of the day. It is about God interrupting created order for the sake of his children. God the creator of all things, the one who sustains all life, kills one of his creatures for the benefit and blessing and restored dignity of both Adam and Eve.
It is a stunning act of compassion and love and this act of God continues on to this day. All of us are on His ‘restore and cover over’ list. God puts aside his own priority for the needs and care of humanity. Laying down his life has always been the way of God.
I work with leaders in the Kingdom of God. What I have found through the years is that God is always first and foremost concerned with the individual. Even though each of us are called to enter into the work of the Lord, God will not sacrifice is son or daughter for the work. What I mean is this: God will postpone the work you are called to until you are ready.
God works with you and I to ensure our maturity, our integrity, our holiness, and our strength in him. Though there are many things to do, many people to reach, many wrongs to be made right, he begins the work with you and I intimately in the inner sanctum of our own heart and minds and lives.
And in this quest to ensure our care God will put roadblocks to ministry, will establish timelines and order of things that must be adhered to, our motives will be revealed, our love will be tested, our devotion will be challenged; it is the way of a loving parent to a growing child; teach, test, reveal, teach, test, reveal, and then one day, send forth.
As workers in the Kingdom of God, it is imperative that we come into the rest of our Heavenly Father’s care and covering. We must learn to walk in step with Him, side by side, not running ahead, not lagging behind. We must learn to walk authentically, bringing every part of our soul open before Him. Transparent we find our pride destroyed, our selfishness dismantled, our preoccupation with self given over to a love for the Lord and others that takes preeminence to anything that we might want. We learn to die.
And in death there is profound life. Learning to die is all about bringing our bad and ugly to the table of the living God and allowing Him to make something of it. When we offer our little to God, the part that doesn’t seem shiny enough, the part that has shame stuck all over it, the part that we consider personal failures, these parts are powerful ingredients when given over to the Lord.
We give over our self importance and our successes, we give over our shine and the bigness of our lives, we give over all we know and do and we enter into brokenness, we live brokenness, we live a life died to self. We don’t have to prove anything, we don’t have to accomplish anything per se, we put it all down. We put down ministry, we put down achievement, we put down our own best understanding about everything and we take on the clothing of Jesus Christ, these skins crafted to cover over our sin become our covering; we become clothed in him.
And clothed in the Lord we take on His ways. We find compassion, we find empathy, we find a heart that longs to restore all manner of things back unto God and we get it that this cannot be done in judgment, in condemnations, in hatreds. It cannot be done by holding onto bitterness or nursing wounds and harms done to us.
We come to see that as God has forgiven and restored us to himself that this is his very heart for our enemies, the ones who have wounded us most. It is exactly this: As God restores the one raped he so desires to restore the rapist. It is the same love, the same compassion, the same understanding, the same restoration, the same work.
God’s heart is always about restoration and healing. It is not about vindication or extracting recompense. Rather, God has covered it all. All of it is covered by the Lord. And as we enter into an agreement for His covering work on behalf of those who have sought to destroy us, we enter in the Kingdom of God through our very lives and beings that cannot be discounted or swept away. God’s ways are immensely powerful and we become part of His way, as we die to self that needs everything to be made right, life abundant is the result.
From this place we find that it is all okay. That even though nothing is okay, it is all okay. God’s presence in the midst restores joy and gladness like we never imagined. This is the hope of the world. He is he hope of our world. By agreeing to God’s heart and to his covering and forgiveness of all mankind, we usher in the Kingdom of God and our very lives laid down in this way become the seedbed for growth and life and all manner of good things unto the Lord and all those round about us. Life begins to permeate planet earth once more.