Friday, March 21, 2014

By Design

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “[It was intended] that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.” (John 12:7)

Our life is a puzzle. We can see the pieces that have already been put into place, but we can only guess at what the entire picture will look like when it is finished.

When we are quite young it is easy for us to think that we can see the way the pieces of our life will come together. We picture ourselves living the life we expect to have, living where we think we want to be, and expecting that we will live happily ever after.

One’s life almost never turns out the way we had imagined. Unexpected pieces suddenly fall into place. Sometimes that brings us delight. Sometimes we are dismayed.

As we grow older we begin to suspect that we have, at least, caught on to the pattern that our life will follow. We find ourselves thinking: “Well, I guess I will never be rich!”Or, “It looks like I’ll spend my life in this or that career!”But, the reality is we will never see the complete picture of our life until it is completed. Many surprises may lie down the road. That thought can be unnerving.

If our life’s picture were formed by random pieces happening to fit here and there, how helpless and often hopeless we would feel.

But, if our picture has been designed by someone who loves us, and knows exactly which pieces should become part of our life, and exactly how they should fit in, then we can relax.

The woman Jesus was referring to in John 12 was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. She had just given Jesus an expensive gift—it cost an entire year’s wages of an average person. Yet, the gift wasn’t something that Jesus could keep for long. It was a pint of pure nard, a perfume that Mary had poured onto his feet, and then wiped off with her hair. The whole house was filled with the wonderful aroma, but soon it would be gone.

“What a waste!” was the impression of Judas Iscariot. “Many hungry people could have been fed if the perfume had been sold.” Maybe others would have agreed with him.

Jesus did not. Jesus knew how this piece fit into the larger picture of his life and the salvation of the world. He said, “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.”

He was only a few days away from his death. No one else in the room knew that a piece of his puzzle was going to be called Golgotha. No one expected that women would gather in closing darkness to wrap his corpse with the customary burial ointments. No one could see that this would be followed with the bright light of Easter.

We don’t know how Mary bought the perfume. We don’t know how long she had been saving it. But, even though she did not realize it, this was all by God’s great design.

So it is with us. That same One is shaping our life’s picture—and the design is just as wonderful.

Join us this weekend to worship Him!

Saturday: 6:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am

This devotion was written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain. If you would like to receive his weekly devotions, please click here.

Hawaii Lutheran Church (WELS)

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Honolulu, HI
Community Lutheran Church holds protestant chapel services in Honolulu, Hawaii near Pearl Harbor, HI. We are next to the USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Hickam Air Force Base, and Fort Shafter Hawaii. Look for us directly behind the Salt Lake, Hawaii, Target.