A fellow teaching compatriot, Leila Strong Smith, has crafted a new skill since we both left the school—painting. That’s her “Water into Wine” above. I easily saw the blue of water, at the top right, and the red of wine at the bottom left, and the turbulent mixing of the two in the center. But she neither intended nor noticed the faint presence of a face top center. A suggested jaw line, a mouth and nose, and shaded eyes.
What a metaphor of the turbulence that accompanies following Jesus and the transformation he brings to our lives. Personify the water that Jesus turned into wine, “Hey, what’s happening? I’m changing. What happened to my beautiful clarity? Not sure I like this!” Change doesn’t always come easy, as Jesus himself said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household’” (Matthew 10:34-36).
CS Lewis agreed, “If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity” (CS Lewis, God in the Dock). And, not to bring discouragement, but realize the process of transformation continues. All our lives. No “one and done” in changing. So, as you enter or continue walking with Jesus, expect the unexpected. Expect disruption. Don’t expect a relaxing walk in the park. Anticipate changes in relationships. Values. Ways of thinking. Level of comfort. Behaviors.
But remember the face. Jesus doesn’t only cause much turbulence in our lives, but he remains with us through the disruption. Don’t discount that, because he then works intimately in our lives to guide the transformation, “Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20, NLT). A God who knows best; a man who knows best what we face.
Kick Starting the Application
Think of some turbulent transformations you’ve experienced in following Jesus. Did you sense his presence through them? Did you remember his presence then? Keep in mind, his presence doesn’t depend on our sensing it. How did that presence help? Do you sense another transformation coming? How can an awareness of his presence help?