Finding Jesus

My eyes welled as they scanned the words−each one spreading salve on my current situation. I had just traveled through a dark valley, overcome by depression and wracked with physical sickness. I had spent the night before crying on my bathroom floor to the God Who Sees. I poured over Psalm 116, reliving the big emotions I had felt only hours before, this time with the hindsight of one rescued. He had heard my cries as I begged him to pull me up from the darkness of my little world as it crumbled around me. I woke that morning with a renewed joy, not free from circumstance, but rescued all the same.

Psalm 116 was perfect for my current dark valley, meeting me where I was−but there was more. You know those sweet moments when Jesus stretches you from your little bitty worldview into His BIG one? The words of this Psalm did that in me. My eyes began to see a bigger picture in the tapestry of the words.

“The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul” (Psalm 116:3-4, ESV).

My trial, and God’s merciful response to me, was just a tiny picture of what He did for me on the cross. I have been rescued from death, pulled from the very pit that threatens to swallow up every one of us. I have been graciously included in the great Rescue Plan of God.

Of all the things to love about God’s Word, my favorite has to be the little sneak peeks God placed from beginning to end revealing to us His plan for our rescue. He is never lacking; from Old Testament to New, from our personal testimonies to our present day struggles, He has hidden models of the Gospel within the folds of our human existence.

You see, while we tend to see the Bible as a two part system−Old Testament, New Testament−there is, in fact, an intricate cohesion throughout. “In the beginning was the Word…” (John 1:1) and that Word was Jesus. We are told everything was made through Him and He is the light that darkness cannot overcome. Jesus was part of the plan from the very beginning.

Soon after all things were made, Adam and Eve chose to believe the lie we all live−God doesn’t really love us−and they took on the covering of death. God meets them in their darkness, sending them away from His holiness, but with a promise of rescue. [1]

Years later, the whole world is hurtling headlong into hell, while Noah and his family build a boat. God, yet again, reveals His pattern for salvation: sin leading to destruction; provision of a narrow, but sure means of escape; the promise of a new creation. [2]

God’s people find themselves again, staring into the hungry mouth of death, but God sends Joseph on ahead (through suffering and betrayal) to prepare a way of rescue for His people. [3] He then leads them both into and out of bondage in order to connect their hearts to the necessity of sacrifice. In Egypt they see the death of a son and the covering of sacrificial blood are their one means of escape. God paves the way out of slavery by way of innocent sacrifice. Outside of Egypt He orders their daily lives around this need for atonement, that they might not miss His heart for them. [4]

Rahab and Ruth, both outsiders−not called children of God, are not only rescued, but patched into the people of God by way of His mercy. [5] The Psalms are ripe with God’s rescue plan, played out through the daily trials of the Psalmist. The Prophets all but spell out God’s intricate, intimate, life or death plan of salvation. Look at Hosea, his entire story is to show God’s tireless pursuit of the unworthy in order to make them right again.

Even when Jesus finally steps on the scene, He is consistent in dropping hints of what’s to come. He raises people from the dead and says they’re sleeping. [6] He straight up tells His disciples that He is going to Jerusalem to be killed and then raised back to life three days later (and they don’t get it!). [7] God’s plan for salvation is mysterious on so many levels, but it is not hard to find!

God has been gracious to us from the beginning of time, not hiding His purpose to gather His people back to Himself. He has given us types of the Gospel throughout His word, Jesus shows up EVERYWHERE!  We must learn to mine for them, to train our minds and hearts to see them the way we did with Where’s Waldo when we were young. I encourage you, as you read to mark these places where you see Jesus. Discipline yourself to find Him in the places you least expect.

As you cultivate these new found Gospel eyes in your daily study, you will be surprised by how wide the periphery of your vision stretches. Just as my recent dark trial revealed to me, you will see that He has woven the Gospel into the miniscule moments of everyday life. Those little hiccups and dark valleys, those moments of rest and rejuvenation, let them become the words of His Rescue Plan sung over your world. Let them ring out through the wrinkles and grey hairs. Let them shine from behind your eyes, and be the gut-cry of your heart: “I love the Lord, because he has heard me…” (Psalm 116:1a).

Seek out these treasures and hide them in your hearts for those rainy days.

 

 

 

 

 

[1]Genesis 3:15

[2] Genesis 6-9

[3] Gen 39-41 and Psalm 105:20-22

[4] Exodus 12:33-50

[5] Joshua 4:22-23, Ruth

[6] John 11, Mark 5:35-43, Luke 7:11-17

[7] Matthew 16:21

 

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