Imagine you are a frustrated inventor and you have been trying to create something fresh and innovative. You take an afternoon walk through a historic business district in order to find some inspiration. As you pass antique shops and pocket parks, a frail old woman grabs your arm and pulls you over to a small wooden table with two chairs and a crystal ball. She prompts you to sit down with her as she directs your attention to the orb. With her eyes fixed on the ball, she begins to describe your future. Your initial skepticism fades as you also begin to see images of a much older version of yourself receiving accolades and awards. You see a world well beyond your own lifetime. Hundreds and thousands of years flash before your eyes and it soon becomes clear that what you are actually witnessing is the obscured story of a future invention of yours—one that so profoundly shapes humanity that it goes on to alter much of world history. As the ball goes dark, the old woman packs it away in a canvas bag, and then shifts her attention back to you. She reaches across the table, touches your cheek gently, and then walks away as quickly as she came.
A moment like this would probably be life changing. Perhaps disturbing. You are now convinced that you are going to create something of historical significance. But what and how and when? How would this knowledge affect you? Would it be a weight lifted, knowing that you’d eventually do something important? Or would it cripple you with anxiety and leave you obsessing over your work? Would you become arrogant? Paranoid? Generous? Care free? Aloof?
Now and forever
When Jesus of Nazareth walked the earth, he was certain of his life’s purpose. He knew that his future death and resurrection would forever alter the course of the humanity and yet he remained committed to a remarkable amount of normalcy. In light of his foreknowledge, I find it significant that Jesus didn’t ignore the practical things of human life—eating, drinking, walking, listening, studying, visiting family, attending Synagogue, and so on. He spent time alone. He studied the scriptures. He celebrated Jewish festivals. He was (as is) both truly human and truly God. We simply should not skim over the less flashy aspects of Jesus. How does his example of humility and patience reshape our work, our relationships, and our rest? How does his unhurried love guide us now?
Upon spiritual rebirth, God’s Spirit reshapes us. We become a new creation—the very tabernacle of God. It gets better. We are now in Christ as much as he is in us. A holy communion. That is to say, all of his marvelous works become personal to our story—knit into the very fabric of how we experience reality itself. The Trinity becomes family. Our futures are bound up together in a glimpse of a coming world and a new way of being.
Finding our significance in Christ allows us to move forward with hope. Do not miss how liberating this is. In a sense, we have gazed into the crystal ball and seen our lives forever wrapped up in the greatest story ever told—with the greatest person, in the greatest way, and for the greatest reasons. When he created you, he didn’t invent some-thing, he formed some-one—infusing you with his very image and the ability to give and receive love. Love now fuels our endeavors and mercy paves the way. We are free. Our experience of satisfaction and beauty crescendos along the arc of God’s revelation. There is deep existential relief in knowing that a loving, personal God holds your destiny and that of all creation. Your future is not written in a crystal ball but held in the love of a Father.
We have gazed into the crystal ball and seen our lives forever wrapped up in the greatest story ever told.
So now we live and move and have our being as ones who are removed from the weight of significance. Our wanderlust finds a holy spirit of adventure in the God of galaxies and glaciers. Our striving is swallowed up in the electric joy of our own Creator. And as the years march on, we step closer to the rainbow’s source and a day when Christ will lean across the table and touch our cheeks. We are children again.