Picture Perfect

The perfect life. What does it look like? Every individual imagines what life would be like for them if it were perfect. Maybe they would have plenty of wealth so that questions about how to pay for anything were irrelevant. Perhaps a life without illness, not even a runny nose. The perfect life could be one where every street is easy, and obstacles and detours are not part of getting around in the world—a world without anxieties, fears, or worries. Maybe the perfect life would be one of complete happiness where sadness has no home. 

However, it doesn’t take long to live in our world to realize that no such life exists. Whereas we may have security and ease in one part of our lives, other aspects of our lives can be in complete disarray. We might not have to worry about our finances, but our health is in dire jeopardy. We might have the perfect job, but our family life is a wreck. Perfection in our world is a hard commodity to come by.

C. S. Lewis, in his classic work, The Four Loves, writes, “Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” Yet, this is just where we so often seek out our happiness and our perfect life, in that which does not last forever. In life, we constantly must come to terms with our losses. People whom we love die and leave this world. Our health falters along the way. Possessions we purchase with glee and cheer soon lose their luster. Relationships become broken. People disappoint us just as we disappoint others. The picture-perfect world we hope for cannot be found in our world. And when we do think we have found it, it is only a matter of time before our picture-perfect world is broken again.

I like to think that when God created the world that indeed everything was perfect. Our relationships with God, with one another, and with all of creation were one of peace and harmony. God’s good world was offered to all as the best gift of all. Yet, we spurned the gift and the giver in time as we sought to find perfect happiness in something or someone other than God. Sin entered the picture, distorted the image, cracked the glass, and broke the frame. Our picture-perfect world was now anything but perfect.

Life is now about living in an imperfect world but trusting in a perfect God. When we anchor our ultimate happiness in God, we discover the life we have always longed for. Not the perfect life, but a life that knows that regardless of the brokenness of life, the losses we face, and even the pain we endure, God’s perfect love, grace, and presence will not falter. We can trust in God’s goodness. As we read in Isaiah 54:10 – “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” While our lives may seem fragmented and broken at times, God is perfect in all God’s ways. We can trust in God in an imperfect world. We can trust that God is working to restore his broken creation to its perfect state. We hope that God will ultimately bring us the promise of the book of Revelation. “I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”(Revelation 21: 3-4)

Until this day arrives, however, as a people of faith, we must do our part to bring a perfect heaven into an imperfect world. We pray as Jesus taught us to pray, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” God is seeking to make all things new. We must join with God in this great calling to move us closer and closer to a picture-perfect world.  And when get there by following the ways of Jesus, of living in love, grace, mercy, kindness, generosity, patience, and the other riches of a life abiding in God.  Jesus is the perfect picture of the kind of people we are called to be in our world.

Published by Dr. Philip W. Turner

Since 1991 I have had the joy of serving as Pastor of Pine Street Baptist Church in the community of Oregon Hill in Richmond, Virginia. The people I have met a long the way have inspired me in my daily ministry. I have truly been blessed.

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