On the outside my grandmother Josephine looked like any other grandmother. She wore glasses, gray hair, and her share of wrinkles and spots. But on the inside pumped the heart of a playful little girl. We cut paper dolls out of the Sears and Roebuck catalog, sang at her piano, and turned brand-new pointed Crayola crayons into short stubby chunks of color. She enjoyed telling funny stories from her own book of memories, but always made sure I heard the life-giving ones from the Good Book.
I asked lots of questions about everything, and she tried her best to answer them all. Occasionally, my questions got the best of her. While I don’t recall that one particular question I asked, I have never forgotten the answer she offered. With that faraway look in her eyes that grandmothers often get, she threw out this nugget of wisdom: “We don’t always understand everything that happens, but we know God’s way is always perfect.”
In August of 2010, as I searched for a name for this online journey you and I are taking, I believe that sage answer must have pushed its way through my menagerie of memories. I didn’t know it way back then, but I now realize my grandmother’s wisdom came from Psalm 18:30. “God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.”
After birthing the Perfection Road website, I felt I needed a tagline that would define the type of perfection we would be pursuing. I finally settled on “Filling Life’s Potholes with God’s Perfection.” Only through a relationship with Jesus can we successfully travel the road to true perfection. We can’t achieve it on our own.
That’s exactly why we travel toward perfection behind Jesus. We need HIM to fill the bone-jarring potholes in our paths. Sometimes, He’ll ask us to take a few steps back so that He can help us fill in the ones we’ve left uncovered. He will also help prepare us for the ones that lie ahead. He carefully points out every crack of imperfection and is ready, willing, and able to fill each one – especially those that form after being hot one minute and cold the next.
The longer we walk and talk with Him the more our relationship with Him matures. Over time, we walk and talk more like Him. Hopefully, others begin to see a change in us just as Jerusalem’s elders and teachers observed in Peter and John. They will see us simply as ordinary people who show bold evidence of having been with Jesus. (Acts 4)
In a nutshell, perfection is achieved solely by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. (Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT) It has nothing to do with our own efforts. We can rest in knowing that our brokenness brought Jesus here, and His love covers a multitude of imperfections. We don’t have to fret and strive for perfection since Jesus makes us perfect in God’s eyes. Every misstep and wrong turn won’t cancel His love for us. Believing that, we’re motivated to love and adore Him even more. This gives us the opportunity to learn, grow, and take shelter under Jesus’ outstretched arms of perfection. What encouragement to stay on the right road!
Allow me to switch metaphors for a moment. In Japan, there is a process of repairing broken pottery called Kintsugi. Lacquer is mixed with silver, platinum, or gold dust and used as a glue to put the broken pieces back together. The end result is more beautiful than the original because something of greater value fills the cracks. When one looks at this kind of pottery the eyes are immediately drawn to the beauty of the cracks. The expensive filler not only holds the pottery together, it also increases its value and allows it to be used again.
Jesus Himself fills our cracks of imperfection. He becomes the glue that repairs our brokenness. As a result, we become a more valuable vessel that can be used for greater things. When we don’t allow others to see our repaired broken places, they miss seeing the luminous Jesus who filled us and put us back together. They naturally underestimate His value and staying power. They completely miss the beauty of the masterpiece. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)
We may not always understand the reasons behind all of our potholes and cracks, but we can rest in knowing that God’s way is always perfect. After all, my grandmother said so!
“God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect.”
(Psalm 18:32 NLT)
“All you who fear God, how blessed you are!
How happily you walk on his smooth straight road!”
(Psalm 128:1 MSG)