Behold.

Peter-blog-post-picBehold.

That word has been ringing in my head lately. It’s a tad awkward to our modern ears, but I love coming across it in the Bible. So often, God points us to something that He’s doing, or has done, and simply says, “Behold!” The life of faith is one of beholding God’s work in Christ by His Spirit—like his work in the lives of “Matthew” and “Martin.”

The first time I met Matthew, he was in a hospital emergency room on suicide watch. Sill and I sat quietly with him while we waited for him to be admitted. He was at the tail end of a year-long relapse in his alcohol and heroin addictions, and he was so depressed he wanted to kill himself.

I next saw Matthew three months later, and he was a different man: thoughtful, compassionate, and self-aware. He had moved from viewing his struggles as his own failure to viewing them as part of God’s work and presence in his life. He was honest about his struggles, but eager for encouragement. In his free time, he read from an encyclopedia on abnormal psychology, and he wanted to become an addictions counselor to help people as he had been helped. He now has his own apartment and is in the process of getting his addictions counselor certification.

Behold.

I first met Martin in December. His words were so soft, faltering, and infrequent that I struggled to connect with him. After several months, I began praying that God would give him a voice. Then I remembered to be careful what I pray for, because when Martin finally spoke up a week later for the first time, it was to point out something in the Ministry Center he thought should be changed! His complaint was ardent and articulate, and it made a lot of sense, so we changed that policy and things are working better in the MC these days as a result. Now it can be hard to get a word in edgewise with Martin as he shares about his life. His steps toward reconciliation with his family and healthier choices in his life—even when it costs him—are evidence of God’s continued redeeming presence in his life.

Behold.

We have many stories like Matthew’s and Martin’s. We also have many stories that aren’t so hopeful: men who’ve relapsed or have yet to pursue recovery. I’m not sure where God is with them, but I don’t have to know. After all, no one was sure where God was with Christ on the cross, but He was most present there, bringing the world to Himself.

Matthew’s and Martin’s stories aren’t finished yet. Neither is mine. But I’m grateful for where our stories are. I’ve been given a glimpse into the work of Jesus, our crucified and risen Lord, which gives me the faith, hope, and love to understand the unfinished stories we all live in.

“Behold,” says Jesus, “I am making all things new.” (Rev. 21:5)

1 Comment
  1. Very nice post. Thanks Peter!

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