The following is excerpted from my book, Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal: A Boy, Cancer, and God:
Redemption doesn’t mean you stand in triumph over your circumstances. And it doesn’t mean that the “new” makes you forget about everything that happened in the “old” (although in heaven someday these light and momentary afflictions will pale in comparison). Redemption is about the confidence that God is bringing good out of the bad, prosperity out of desolation. God’s not interested in evening things out; He’s interested in taking those things which are so painful, earth- shattering, and devastating and turning them into marks of His goodness and kindness.
Moses was a shepherd for forty years, but God redeemed his experience in the desert. He gained a knowledge of the land that would be vital because he spent the next forty years leading the children of Israel through the same desert. David spent his childhood learning how to defend sheep with meager weapons. God redeemed his defensive skills as he shepherded the people of Israel, slaying giants with small stones. Luke had an obsessively ordered and detailed mind, but God redeemed it, enabling him to record in a logical way the ministry of Christ and the early church. Paul spent years studying and memorizing the Torah, and God redeemed that knowledge as he became an apologist in the midst of Jews and Gentiles alike.
We often think God is in the business of swooping down and plucking us out of our circumstances. He rescues us to be sure—from sin and death and hopelessness. But His rescue incorporates those sad, tragic, devastating circumstances we want, in the moment, to see removed. In redemption God takes the shattered blocks of our lives and slowly, methodically, but faithfully, puts them back together in a way we couldn’t have imagined at first. In the end there is something new and different, and yet it’s made up of those same pieces of life that once looked so broken on the ground.
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