Photo from www.dreamstime.com
"But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light."
1 Peter 2:9 NLT
But we're not like what? The verse before quotes Isaiah 8:14, which says that Jesus is like a stone that many people will trip over.
Earlier this spring, I was running along a path much like the one in the picture above. Around mile 3, my feet became heavy and my toe caught a little rock that was sticking up through the soil. I went tumbling down into the rocks and roots and now have a good seven inch scar along the base of my elbow.
I think the scripture is saying that Jesus is like that little rock. Not so much a grand boulder that sits heavy in our path, but a little stone that sometimes trips us up.
Before I first encountered Jesus, I was running along that path in blindness. I tripped over Him and fell hard. It hurt. But for the first time I could see my surroundings. I could see what was hurting me and how I was hurting others.
And still, I trip and fall. When I am running too fast. When my eyes and heart have become too focused on money, power, myself. When the spiritual "cataracts" have begun to develop, I trip and fall.
It still hurts.
But He slows me down and always tends to my wounds.
He teaches me to run steady.
This is how we "show others the goodness of God." What seems cruel (tripping us with a stone) is actually loving grace. Had we not tripped, we would have run unaware off of the cliff.
God is good to us.
Even in the pain.