Once Upon a Time…

January 11, 2021 | Written by Jonathan Cleveland

Once upon a time there was you.

And while you were growing in your mother’s womb…
God was thinking about you.
He was thinking about who you were going to be and what you were going to face in your life.

He saw all the trouble you would face.
He saw all the sins you would commit and struggle with.
He saw all the wounds you would carry from people who mistreated you.

And even so, He loved you deeply and He looked at you and declared… This person is very good.
And I am well pleased with her. I am well pleased with him.

And then He looked at all your troubles, all your sins, all your hurts…
And God thought to Himself – what is the one thing I can give this person that will give them the best chance of experiencing everything I created them for?

And for a second, maybe He thought about just making sure that you never suffered and never were hurt by anyone.
But He realized He would have to take you out of the world to prevent suffering and pain.
Because broken people who love other broken people experience suffering and pain.
And He didn’t want to rob you of your life.

So He decided to give you a real life – with all the goodness, and pain, that comes with it.

And then for a second, He thought maybe He would just make it so you couldn’t ever sin and hurt yourself.
But, again, He realized that to do that, He would have to take away your freedom.
And even though He knew that you would use your freedom to reject Him and sin… He also knew that your freedom would be necessary for you to know and experience His redeeming love.
And He didn’t want to rob you of that chance.

So looking at you – knowing who you are – who you were made to be – what you would face – how you would sin and struggle – He gave you the best gift He could possibly give.
He wrote you into His story…

And He decided that one day – one moment in the course of your life… He would tell you the deepest, truest truth of all reality. The Gospel.
Instead of preventing your pain – or taking away your freedom to sin…
He actually gave you something better.
Something imperishable – that would last forever.
He gave you grace.

The truth that Jesus Christ – God incarnate came for us – and died for us, to save us eternally.
And He rose to redeem every last thing on this earth.
And He is keeping track of every tear you shed in grief and frustration… so that He can redeem it.
And He is NOT keeping track of any sin you commit… because you’re forgiven.

And God decided that He wanted you to be written into that story of His grace.
And He decided to tell you about it.
And He hoped that you would see what it means to rise above your circumstances and find yourself in His story.

And He hoped you would find in His story there is purpose to your pain – and there is real freedom from your sin.
And He hoped that finally you would come to terms with just how much He loves you.
And that you’d realize His grace is better than a pain free, sinless life.
And that as you grew into the story of His grace you’d help others find it too.
And He wanted you to find your home in that story.
And be conformed to it and live in it for the rest of your life.

And so your story is this…

Once upon a time there was you.
And there was this God who loved you enough to think specifically about what you need.
And to write you into His imperishable story.

And just like Peter – you grabbed onto stories that your circumstances told you… or that other broken people with false stories told you.
And just like Peter – Jesus is here to give you a new story.

And you – just like Peter, are invited into that story as the beloved of God.
And you are invited to carry that story to a world suffering and being controlled by their false stories.


Watch the rest of Jonathan’s message.

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