On our living room wall, we have a series of pictures done on canvas of our entire family. This was a Christmas gift last year from our children who knew that family, following our relationship to God, was central in our lives. The pictures represent a moment in time when we were all together. Already the grandchildren have changed in appearance as they have grown, but for one day, we captured a slice of life that represents the gift of God that we are to one another: my husband and I, our four children, four precious in-laws and eight grandchildren. It is a blessing to walk by this wall and reflect on the many joys that God has given us over the forty three years of our marriage. However, not everyone sees life and family from this vantage point.
In William Shakespeare's famous play "Macbeth", the main character (Macbeth) recites his understanding of life in Act V Scene V: "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day To the last syllable of recorded time, And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing." While this was written around 1606, there are many today who would embrace this philosophy of life. There is no hope expressed here. In this view, life has little meaning and our "moment in time" simply passes on the stage of life like a brief candle. No wonder there is so much sadness and emptiness seen in our culture today, and yet, this has been true ever since man's fall in the Garden of Eden. Each generation has felt the immense sense of loss that comes from a broken relationship with God.
By contrast, the Bible offers us a different picture of life and the means of restoration which God has accomplished on our behalf. In the pages of God's Word, we learn that we were created a little lower than the angels (Psalm 8:5). We were meant to reflect the glory of the Lord, and we were made in His image that we might rule over His creation caring for it (Genesis 1:26). In the beginning, Adam and Eve walked and talked with God in a perfect environment, but when they rebelled, it was like someone using a can of spray paint to mar the Mona Lisa. The image was damaged and the relationship with our Creator was broken.
From before the foundation of the world, however, God had purposed to redeem for Himself a people called by His name (Ephesians 1:4), and to this end, He sent His only begotten Son when the moment in time was just right (Galatians 4:4). Jesus Christ was the second Adam (I Corinthians 15:45) who came to fulfill, in perfect obedience, the Law, to live without sin, and to be, for us, the perfect sacrifice for our sins. To those who receive Jesus Christ not only as Savior but also as Lord, the curse of our sin nature is broken so that we are free to choose to obey God. We are no longer slaves, and the emptiness of life expressed in the play "Macbeth" is replaced by the abundant life found in Christ.
With fellowship in God restored, any man or woman can now walk day by day in communion with their Creator. This is why our wall is filled with the smiles of our family. Our home was founded on Jesus Christ whom we had professed faith in just three months before our marriage. Each of our children in turn professed their faith in Christ and married a believer in the Lord. This does not mean that our lives are without trials, temptations and heartaches. Instead, it is a day by day journey with the Lord as He works in each of us to conform us into the image of His dear Son. How sweet the adventure of this earthly pilgrimage has been as we do it as a family lifting up one another daily in prayer. My prayer for each one of you reading this today is that you, too, might know the joy of walking daily with the Lord. If you are already a Christian, you have tasted of God's goodness, but if you have never accepted Him as Savior and Lord, I invite you to experience "that moment in time" when you repent of your sins and receive Him as your Savior and Lord. It makes all the difference for eternity. Selah!