Don’t we all love a good Before & After story? A kitchen makeover, bathroom renovation, weight loss transformation, or a hair-do re-do. We want messes cleaned up. We want what is broken to be fixed. We long for peace when there is chaos.
When our “Before” feels like a big old mess,
we long for our “After” to get here,
and get here quick.
What if the mess is in our hearts? So many of us ache from living under the pressures of our own failures, shortcomings, and downfalls. What if we are living with a “Before” that we just don’t see any progress in?
What if the mess is a relationship? A forsaken friendship, a wayward child, a painful marriage all demonstrate our need for reconciliation, relief, remedy, redemption…our need for a Savior.
Jesus came to do all this. He is doing all this now, though we may not see.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
Isaiah 51:1-3, ESV
Lent is the season of repentance—grieving over our mess, hating our “Before,” and turning back to God. Lent is the acknowledgment that, like the father in The Parable of the Prodigal Son, Our Heavenly Father waits and, when we return, He runs out to meet us (Luke 15:20).
Easter is the celebration of Christ’s victory over sin and death; it is the biggest “After” because it changed everything. Easter demonstrates that God makes good on the promise of the “After.”
Let’s proceed through Lent with our eye on Easter. Let’s focus on how we can trust God to do the “After” that we need in those broken places. Lent is the reminder that, when we are in a deep dark place, stuck in the middle of a mess, God’s plan is still being carried out.
God is going to fix ALL of our brokenness and cleanse ALL of our uncleanness —this is not a question of if, but when, He will accomplish these things. We know that He will, because His Word tells Us that He will (Ezekiel 36:25).
So, during this season of Lent, I will be offering you our “Before & After Project.” I will post Before & After stories each week…sometimes in words and sometimes in pictures. Often we miss what He is showing us in our ordinary messes, so let’s perk up and pay attention. I will curating Before & After pictures on a Pinterest Board, so follow me there!
If you like this idea, and want to participate, give a shout out in the comments or send me an email.