GOD’S LIFEWORK: Part 1

Skeleton in the Closet

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We all have a skeleton in the closet. We all know something about ourselves we feel is abnormal or handicapping, socially awkward or even shameful. We try to hide it, but occasionally the door cracks open a bit and someone catches a glimpse of what’s inside. We fear disclosure will bring rejection. It was like that for the unnamed man in John nine.

Sitting in the Palestinian dust as he had done all his life, feeling the hot sun on his face, he was listening. He was always listening; he had developed the fine art of listening through much practice. This day, he heard sandal-clad footsteps drawing nearer and picked up the subdued comments he knew almost by heart. Key words like “born blind” and “sinned” were often words he heard whispered from passers-by. You’d think they’d know he wasn’t deaf. Surprisingly, the footsteps stopped before him and a warm hand settled on his shoulder. The voice spoke firmly.

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” came the reply. “But this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

With these words, the blind man’s closet door was flung wide open and the stinking skeleton of guilt he had tried to hide all his life evaporated, falling like flakes of dust to the ground.

Jesus is in the habit of flinging closet doors open. It’s not like He can’t see into them anyway. Yet, sometimes we find ourselves setting a well-placed heel against the corner of the door, wishing He would go bother someone else. We tell ourselves we don’t need His prying eyes in every corner of our lives. He respects that. He never forces His way into a life that is truly opposed to Him. But give Him an inch and He will take a mile of closet-cleaning opportunity, working God’s light into the darkest corners of our souls. Where it will end only God knows. But where it begins is with a prayer.

The blind man was not passive in his interchange with Jesus. It began with a prayer. It had to. He had plenty of time for it, sitting there in the hot sun day after day, waiting for alms from passers-by. He had time to think upon the ‘why’ of his life-long disability, and to pray for help. He had probably been praying for help for years, and this day, it came.

How about us? How long have we been praying for help, for healing, for transformation? How long have we been asking ‘why’, waiting for an answer? We might be blind to His behind-the-scenes working in our lives, but Jesus is near. His touch is on our shoulder and His mighty voice is proclaiming, “This happened so that the work of God might be displayed in your life.” Imagine that: God displaying His amazing workmanship in our lives, muddied and impaired though they be.

It will mean giving up the habit of hiding anything from Him, and it will mean transformation. His touch does that because He wants to display in us His lifework.  I’m beginning to believe it. Do you?

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