Wasted. Mary Magdalene had utterly wasted her life. No one, no matter how hopeful, might have thought that her life could ever be made whole again. The epitome of rubble, she was possessed by, not one devil, but seven!
In like manner, we read of the man roaming among the tombs. He was no “ordinary” sinner. Not only had he lost all dignity and self control, but the very facet of any reasoning was far from him. His mind had been completely taken.
Another true account is the woman that was caught in adultery. Her accusers declared she was found in the very act. Not only did they desire to put her to death for her crime, but had she not been brought to Jesus right in time, they may have done it.
These were the people society wanted away with and away with quickly. They were the filthy, the outcasts, and the type parents warned their children to stay away from. They had allowed the devil to rob them of the attributes of loveliness, till they were stripped of everything even remotely acceptable.
All would have been lost – but for Jesus! No doubt, as He looked at them, He was moved with compassion. He groans for His creation, and though all was seemingly lost, Jesus saw in them a brokenness that comes only by giving everything. True, they had utterly given all to the wrong cause, but Jesus knew if they would turn around and let Him possess them to that same degree and more, He would turn ashes into beauty. Oh, what a remarkable change was wrought in their lives! Mary became the very definition of zeal and passion, the man among the tombs was clothed and in his right mind, and the woman found in adultery was freed to go and sin no more. What beautiful transformations!
We read accounts like these, and, because we are so familiar with the outcome, we can lose the appreciation for the wonder of what really took place.
Character is built by making right choices in life, but it is more than that. Take Abraham for example: he gave up Isaac even before he knew the ram would be waiting in the bush. Or look at Moses. What did he see beyond the riches in Egypt that made him willing to rather suffer with the children of Israel? We also read of Ruth. She gave up her home and nation for what? To spend the rest of her life with old Naomi? And lastly, Esther. She really had it made. She was living in the palace only to live happily ever after … or? We know she was faced with a life-and-death crisis, both for her and her people, unless the king had mercy.
Being familiar with the outcome of these historic accounts, we can appreciate that they were saved by making right choices. But this alone is not the reason that these men and women are our heroes today. The beauty lies in their willingness to suffer despite what they saw ahead of them.
Does God accept any old thing and make it beautiful? The answer is a resounding no. Everyone wants to have a beautiful life. Some are even willing to go to great lengths in order to accomplish it in themselves. But not until one surrenders himself wholly to God, including that which is nearest and dearest to him, will God grace his life with the beauty he was created to have.
“We must be willing to give up the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” Leave the clay in the Potter’s hands, for only He knows how to pick up the broken pieces and reshape them to make us the people we ought to be. Allow God to mold you. We will always know when He is at work, for He takes the broken and the commonplace and transforms it into something beautiful!