diamond in the rough

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”  Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV)

O Lord, You have searched me and known me., and you know me.”  Psalm 139:1 (NKJV)

Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask him.”  Matthew 6:8 (NKJV) 

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27 (NKJV) 

“As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.”  1 Chronicles 28:9 (NKJV)

Our Heavenly Father knows us so much better than even we know ourselves.  He is our Creator, and we are His created.  He knows each of us deeply and intimately both outwardly and inwardly speaking to each of us intimately in our own personal love language through His Holy Word.  In short, He gets us like no one else possibly can.

If He knows us so well, then what exactly does that mean, or should that mean, in terms of my relationship with Him?

Surely if He knows me so well, then there must be much more to experiencing life with Him than the sterile and uncomfortably distant, arms-length moments I’d grown so accustomed to over so many years, right?  Seriously now, shouldn’t one of the signs or hallmarks of a real and vibrant relationship be intimacy?

A few years ago I would’ve jokingly observed that if distance makes the heart grow fonder as the saying goes, then the Lord and I should be really, really close to one another.  Intimacy with God?  Non-existent, obviously, and sad to say something I’d never ever considered to be a real possibility for most of my life.

The truth is that the Lord has always desired a deep, intimate relationship with me, but it was my aloofness and misconceptions about Him that created the distance between the two of us.

Fortunately for me, for all of us, the Lord desires an honest and deep relationship with us and so He has His ways of drawing each of us to Him if we’ll but turn towards Him and not away from Him in those moments. As we at last turn wholeheartedly to Him the door is then finally opened to the possibility of a true One on one “real”-ationship.  What might that look like you ask?  To answer that question I’d like to share with you a moment of intimacy I experienced with Him not that long ago.

Visual imagery and word play have always captured my attention.  It’s the way I’m geared much to the vocal groans of dismay at times of those who know me well.  Even the occasional unsuspecting stranger isn’t spared from my sense of humor that so often revolves around puns and word plays.

A relatively short time ago as I was walking along an all too familiar sidewalk the question as to my own worth was weighing heavily on my heart, more so than usual.  I had lost my job of almost 20 years recently so at the age of 62 I found myself wondering what good the future held.  Indeed, what could be next at my age in terms of a career?  Is there even a next for someone like me?  Next at my age is supposed to be spelled “retirement” isn’t it?  If only that was where I found myself.

So, as I slowly made my way down the sidewalk considering my circumstances the questions  “What do You think of me, Lord?  When You see me what do You see?” spontaneously burst from deep within my heart accompanied by tears rolling down my cheeks.

Remarkably His answer to this new-found longing of my heart was provided a week earlier while walking in the exact same spot.  At that time I had unexpectedly spotted a lost ace of diamonds playing card next to the sidewalk.  To be honest I almost casually dismissed it at the time as it uncharacteristically lay there in the weeds alongside the sidewalk I had walked daily for months.  But the uniqueness of the circumstances at the time caused me to pause, take a quick photo, and then place it in my back pocket without much thought beyond that.  A week later, though, an instant connection of dots was made from His heart to my heart as my Father married this later question of mine to His earlier answer in our own unique, personal love embrace.

So, as I asked that heartfelt question it was immediately answered with a voice in my heart that said,  “Do you remember finding that playing card in the weeds last week? You, My son, are a diamond in the rough, and not just any diamond, but the highest diamond.”  Astonishingly He had provided the answer even before that heartfelt question was ready to be sincerely asked. And why shouldn’t He have been ready with the answer?  Why shouldn’t He be a step ahead of me?  Why shouldn’t He use a wonderful visual word play to get my attention?

The words of Isaiah 65:24 (NKJV) ring ever so much more gloriously in moments like this saying, “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.”

Is there anyone like our Lord? After all, He’s known me since before I was born even in my mother’s womb.  He knows the number of hairs on my head.  He knows what I’m going to say before I say it.  He knows when I lay down and when I get up.  He knows the number of my days.  I am His creation.  I am known and deeply loved by My Father who not only sees and loves me for who I am in this moment, but who also sees and loves me as I will one day be.

So, that’s the background to this story.  Nowadays whenever I’m given the opportunity I like to tell it in a slightly different way because it’s what I imagine in my mind whenever I revisit this experience.

Jesus and I are walking down the sidewalk together side by side enjoying one another’s company on a beautiful afternoon.  The conversation volleys back and forth between the two of us with delightful ease just as it does with best friends.  There is an easy going sense of comfort and acceptance.

Up ahead He spots the playing card lying there just off to the right of the sidewalk in the weeds before I ever notice it.  As we approach it, He playfully and gently sticks His elbow into my side and with a laugh says, “Hey!  You see that ace of diamonds playing card lying over there in the weeds?  That’s how I see you!”  And then as we both look at the playing card we then turn to each other in one of those good, long eye to eye sort of “I know you and love you” moments good friends often share, belly laugh together in delight, and then continue on our way arm in arm still chuckling about that wonderful opportunity He just had to let me know what He thinks and feels about me…after I go back and retrieve the card, of course.

Surely we are all just as deeply loved by our heavenly Father are we not?

Close off the world’s hustle and bustle for just a few moments and go back to that magical day when as a child you and the soft summer shower raindrops danced as one lost in a moment of absolute delight and celebration of one another.

Now, as you joyfully spin round and round with arms outstretched tilt your head back and open your mouth wide as you did that day long ago as a child.  Let each precious word of truth and beauty found in Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV)  gently drop onto your face and into your mouth just like you experienced that magical childhood day.  Not one of His raindrops falls on you without your notice as it caresses your entire being saying,  “The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Are we all not diamonds in the rough with amazing God created potential just waiting to be set free and live according to His purposes in this world?  Is it His desire that His beloved children remain unchanged alongside life’s byways silent and lost in the weeds?

No! He desires to transform each of us by tenderly molding and sculpting us with His great, strong, yet oh so gentle, and loving Hands of Mercy and Grace into the wonderful creation He has always had in mind for us since before we were born.  It is not our vision of ourselves, but rather His vision of who we are that is so vital for each and everyone of us to embrace if the chains that bind us are to be removed.  He has come to set you the captive free, you know.

Lord, help me completely embrace Isaiah 64:8 (NKJV).  But now, O Lord, You are our Father;   We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.”  May I be soft and yielding clay in your creative hands desiring that You shape me according to Your Heart’s desire for You indeed have a purpose for my life. You…me…as His deeply loved children…are all diamonds in the rough in His eyes.  Each of us have great and immense value in His eyes…enough so that He sent His only begotten Son to die for you.  Will you at last finally let go of your own perception of who you are and allow His hands to mold and transform you as only He can from His diamond in the rough into a beautiful, living and breathing creation in the likeness of His one and only Son?  Oh, the plans He has for you!

2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV), “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

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