While packing orders this morning, I had an epiphany.
A box, ready to be shipped, is just how I want it. I've selected the very best of the products the customer ordered. I pack it carefully, taking care that at least two inches of packing peanuts protect the product on all sides. Even the tape securing the box and the labels directing it to its destination are placed with care. The cardboard box is clean and smooth. Aesthetic and quality... that's what I want for my customers.
Some of my customers are as far away as California and New Mexico. As the box takes its FedEx journey, it is handled by many people. It's loaded onto trucks and unloaded in warehouses. Neither trucks nor warehouses are devoid of gray machinery dust. I've been impressed with the care with which FedEx handles packages, but, nevertheless, the packages are handled... and the box starts to bear witness to the fact. The corrugate shows, indented, through the once-smooth cardboard. The neat white label is scuffed with gray. Whether jostled en route or accidentally dropped, occasionally the contents of the box break. One customer opened her box to find the packing peanuts a solid, sticky blob, and the jars that had contained the honey she ordered were interspersed in shards throughout the mess. The box contained everything I sent her, but it was most definitely not what I wanted her to receive. What is her view of me and the company I represent? How will she view the FedEx workers?
The God who has been coming to man since He first created Adam must feel the same way. His message of love, His instructions for living, are delivered by... and understood by... people. Though we might try to observe the "handle with care" instructions, the contents and packaging undoubtedly endure jostling and scuffing. Sometimes, left with sticky pieces, we try to understand what in the world God sent us. It takes a certain amount of faith to trust God's good intentions toward us as we sort through the contents, trying to identify and comprehend.
Learning to allow for, and even embrace the impaired vision of humanity toward God can be exciting. It's mysterious. It adds to the beauty. It leaves more to be discovered of this God who still comes to us.