Saturday, December 31, 2005
Beauty for Ashes
This past Christmas, many kids put out cookies and milk out for Santa on Christmas Eve. Crumbs and an empty glass were evidence that the jolly elf had visited their home. I remember the year I decided there was no Santa. I was 13 and very wise for my age. When I woke up Christmas morning, I dragged myself out to the family room and saw my grandmother sweeping…I figured my little brother broke something and she was cleaning up the pieces. She tsk-tskd under her breath, “What a mess he left!” I asked her what happened and she told me she was cleaning up the mess Santa left…I looked more closely, and boot prints in ash led up to the fireplace. My heart flipped and I believed in Santa for one more year.
Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of evidence for people to believe in things. From a smoking gun to fabrication, people need some kind of evidence. For a child to believe in Santa Claus a few cookie crumbs and presents under the tree will suffice. For a woman to believe a man will love her forever, he needs to produce a ring. And for many to believe in Jesus, they demand tangible evidence.
Many are like the disciple Thomas, not believing Jesus is alive until they can see Him in all His bloody gore. So where am I going with this? Do I have a long lost artifact that proves Jesus actually exists? Am I keeping a doorway to heaven all to myself, peeking through the keyhole every once in a while to make sure He’s still there? I don’t have a shroud of Turin tucked away anywhere, but what I do have something else required in a court of law…witnesses.
Look at the disciples themselves, Thomas included. (John 20:26-31) If you know anything about human nature, you’ll know that it’s easy to fabricate a hoax. But how many men withstand torture and death, because of a hoax? The men that followed Jesus never denied Him, they died with His name on their lips. (Acts 7:54-60) Would you deny Santa Claus if someone held a gun to your head? Sure you would. I know of a girl who had a gun held to her head and asked if she believed in Jesus. Cassie Bernal said yes.
I’ve known other lives that where totally changed because of Jesus. Drugs, alcohol and promiscuity were all they knew until the living Christ stepped into their lives and they changed. They didn’t become scripture spouting puppets. He did a heart transplant and they lost their taste for that old life. They were born again and have started new lives, living for Christ and not for their impulses.
And my evidence? What can I say about what He has done in my life? He took a goody-two-shoes girl who thought she was OK and turned her life upside-down. Yes, God made me unable to have children, but put a new heart in me for other people’s children. He made me a single mom with a baby, to show me He could provide everything I needed. When I finally returned to Him completely, He provided a husband and father for my child who would be a strong spiritual leader for our family. Jesus took a timid mouse of a girl who dabbled in the occult and wilted at what others might think and made her into a woman who is not afraid of what tomorrow will bring.
Let Jesus take the ashes of your life and sweep it up. He may have to turn it upside down for a bit to get you to really let go. But when you do, I am a witness that what He has planned for you will be more amazing than anything you’ve ever prayed for.