So my parents just got back from Alaska to see the Northern Lights. Apparently God decided to put on a wild show. Just before they got there the sun threw out some wild solar flares, hitting our atmosphere just in time. This picture seems surreal and other-worldly. But it isn’t actually my favorite one.
Impressed aren’t you. It would seem that my dad forgot to take off the lens cap. But actually this picture captures something extraordinary.
Just highlighting the behind-the-scenes in photoshop (no other doctoring at all!) reveals what couldn’t be seen: brilliant show with the North Star leading the way.
And this is Good Friday, leading up to Easter. As Jesus hung there bloody and dying, every reasonable person was either cheering or crying because Jesus and his mission was snuffed out. But he wasn’t. It was the darkest of times that turned into the brightest. The exact same moment was the worst time in history and the best. The death of Jesus was brutal, and freeing; horrible and glorious; infuriating and loving.
So my heart needs to visually be reminded that God works in paradoxes. He turns evil into good, and he does it for, in and through me because he did it foremost to and through his Son so that my worst can be turned into best.
And so Jesus could say with confidence: “It Is Finished” (Jn 19:30). Because his death has brought me life. And now as I wait for Sunday when we celebrate the resurrection, I can also wait expectantly for my resurrection when all things will be made new. But even now in the in-between time, I can live with hope, knowing that God’s hidden paradox is at work right now in my life.