As good as it gets?

Posted on Saturday 12 September 2009

Driving recently through a neighborhood not far from mine, I saw this sobering message graffitied on a meter box:  This is as good as it gets.  The corresponding spray-painted artwork depicted a somber looking male face. It might have been the artist’s hasty self-portrait. Or it could have been a stylized Christ, or even Che Guevara for all I know. The image was hard to decipher, but the message wasn’t. The artist’s bleak outlook was crystal clear. No better days ahead. Nothing good to anticipate. No cause for wonder, and certainly none for worship. Even though I know better – the words made me sad. Not that they might be true, but that someone – anyone – might think so.
 
Because it’s going to get a lot better than this.
 
I’m not sure what your circumstances might be…and perhaps they are discouraging. Daunting, even. Maybe sickness or death or unemployment or bankruptcy or a broken marriage or a wayward child or something I can’t imagine consumes your every waking thought. And maybe it’s tempting to believe that nothing will ever change. That there is no hope left. Nothing to long for, dream of, pray for. Maybe the voice of the enemy is whispering despair in your ear, and telling you that it’s time to give up, that hope is absurd, and that tomorrow can bring nothing but more of the same.
 
But that voice is lying.
 
Nearly 2000 years ago a band of followers of a Nazarene teacher came to see him for who he was: God. God in flesh, God in person, God, as Eugene Peterson says, “in the neighborhood.” He lived and died before their eyes, and then – for 40 days more - he kept showing up, raised and somehow blazingly new, even with his scars. “Wait in Jerusalem” he told them, “for the gift that was promised to you.” Some of them were probably so confused and frightenend that they just wanted to go home to business-as-usual, whatever that business might be. Others were itching for a political coup, and still others, for a prominent place in a new movement. But no doubt there was one, or even a few, who had decided, “This is as good as it gets.”
 
It wasn’t.
 
The one who died for them intended to keep on living for them – and he had plans in mind. Big plans. But first, he needed to fill their tiny waiting room with a hurricane of power and gift them with his permanent presence: His Spirit. Then, and only then, they would have what they needed to turn the world upside down on his behalf. But even that was nowhere near as good as it gets.
 
One day, he will make all things new…even us. He will defeat his arch enemy once-for-all, administer justice, and reign forever. He will undo the curse, reward his servants and usher in a new heaven and a new earth. His rightful kingdom will have no end.

 

That, my graffiti-splashing doomsayer, will truly be as good as it gets. Forever.

 
No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, never so much as imagined anything quite like it – what God has arranged for those who love Him. (I Corinthians 2:9, The Message.)

 
…all created beings in heaven and on earth – even those long ago dead and buried – will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father. (Philippians 2:11, The Message)  


 
©Leigh McLeroy 2009
 

 

  1.  
    October 1, 2009 | 7:44 pm
     

    A friend forwarded one of your Wed. words emails and now I’ve found you!! So appreciate your writing. Looking forward to more!
    Bless you,
    Deb

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