The Gospel Lens
When the lockdown began in India, I was in warrior mode. I said to myself, “Let’s do this! You’ve got this. Just three weeks and this will all blow over. Everything will be back to normal and life will go on as usual.” Yeah, right! I wish. And then there was the first extension of the lockdown and the second and the third and I lost count after that.
By the time we hit the middle of May I was exhausted from everything moving online so quickly. I was exhausted from doing the house work and teaching kids and cooking and refereeing fights and keeping myself sane. I was simply worn out, burned out and at the end of the line. I was binge-watching Netflix and overeating. Angry and frustrated, all my heart idols were playing out in various ways. I pulled out of every ministry that I was involved in. I had nothing to give.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Our church had organized various Zoom meetings, Bible studies, morning devotion and noon prayer. So at the beginning of June, I decided to plug into the morning devotion group. That morning devotion time was like a breath of fresh air. I longed for the peace and quiet of the morning when everyone was asleep at home and I could dig into God’s word, drink deep and be satisfied. I longed to share what I learned with the group and I enjoyed learning from their perspectives.
The one thing that this group did differently during their quiet time was to look for gospel moments from every chapter that we read. I joined them when they were studying the book of Genesis. From chapter one until chapter 50 this group faithfully preached the gospel to me through the book of Genesis. And oh it was refreshing, reassuring, calming and soothing — warming my soul. God knew that was exactly what I needed during that time. My gospel lens needed to be adjusted.
Judah and Tamar
For example when we started reading Genesis 38, the story of Judah and Tamar, this is what I thought … “Lord what can I get out of this story? Judah and Tamar? Really Lord? Why is the Old Testament so messy? How can I find a gospel moment from this chapter? Why is this story sandwiched between Joseph’s life story? God why didn’t you choose Joseph’s lineage for your family line?” These were the questions that were in my mind when I started reading Genesis 38. And these are the answers I found. I realized that God is just and holy. He cannot tolerate sin. He’s a God who sees. Sometimes when I see wickedness around me, I think, “God don’t you see all this?” But this chapter shows me that I worship a God who sees. I thank God that this story is in the Bible because as messy as it is, it gives me hope that God works through our messes to bring glory and honor to His name. He uses Judah and Tamar in his genealogy to bring about the Son of God. What an awesome God!
When I was trying to look for a gospel moment in this chapter I saw that Judah leaves his seal and chord and staff as a pledge with a prostitute for just a one night stand, for just a fling — just uses her and leaves. But Jesus is the perfect bridegroom and in Ephesians we see that he calls the church his bride and he never leaves us nor forsakes us and he has sealed us with his Holy Spirit and we are his. So even though I was the prostitute in this story, Jesus still is the perfect bridegroom who never leaves me. He doesn’t walk away from the relationship. That was the gospel moment for me from this story.
The Bad and the Good
I had always viewed the Bible as God’s word filled with “good” stories and “good” values and doctrines and everything that was in the Bible was only “good”. But through the book of Genesis I saw some “bad” stories. Some truly mean and wicked people. Some atrocious acts. Heinous crimes, rape and murder, lust and impulse, outright lies and major cover ups. Some that I would have definitely omitted if I were writing the Bible. God however, in his sovereignty, allowed the “bad” stories to be part of his “good” book. And through that showed me his grand plan for salvation right from the beginning.
I always thought that the God of the Old Testament was an angry God, quick to judge and swift to punish. Instead, I saw a merciful God, kind and compassionate. I saw the Grand Weaver at work, weaving the tapestry of human history and showing glimpses of his plan for salvation. And to me that was beautiful, breathtaking, astounding and refreshing. I saw a God who was willing to work through people’s messes, who was willing to work with human choices. I saw a God who is sovereign, a God who works through the barrenness, the lies, the deception, the pit and the imprisonment to still bring about the Messiah.
For me to zoom out and look at God’s grand plan for humanity through the book of Genesis was truly astounding. And in so doing I fell in love with this good and gracious King, a kind and merciful Father, a compassionate covenant-keeping God, who remembers his covenant for generations. Through the pages of Genesis I came face-to-face with a powerful, sovereign, loving God and I came away breathless, gasping for joy, drowning in his goodness.
Deepa David skillfully juggles her various roles as a wife and mother of three kids. Her biggest role is to support her husband in ministry, bringing stability into a demanding ministry environment. She has a heart for underprivileged women and has served with commercial sex workers and women in situations of exploitation and abuse. She is also theologically trained with an MA in Christianity from SAIACS. She is joyful all the time and never tires of hosting people in her home.
Originally published at IndiAanya.com. Reprinted with permission.