October 26, 2017

“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).

What makes a good window? That’s easy! A good window is clear and colorless, fully transparent, so you can get a good look at whatever is on the other side. That’s the point of a window, right? It lets you see outside.

But if that’s what makes a good window, then the windows in our churches need some work: they’re made of stained glass. Stained glass windows are not clear, they’re not colorless, and they completely obscure whatever is outside.

And yet, nobody complains about our stained glass windows. Why? Because rather than showing us what’s outside, these special windows instead portray the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is far more beautiful than mere transparent glass.

Isn’t that odd? A window that fails so badly at being a window could actually be something better. Yet God chooses things like that all throughout history. All the major characters in the Bible, from Abraham to Moses to David to Peter and Paul, are flawed. They’re weak. They’re foolish. They’re evil. Yet God is in the business of bringing strength from weakness, wisdom from folly, and good from evil.

Look what He did in Jesus. Jesus came to conquer sin, yet He didn’t do it with a glorious display of power like we’d expect. Instead, Jesus came into the world as a human, a weakling. To many He appeared foolish. And in the end, on the cross, He was covered with our sins, and punished for them.

And yet, rather than being corrupted by them, He defeated them, sanctified them even! He rose from death, and now that dreaded wage of sin is but the portal to eternal life for all who believe in Him.

Do you ever feel weak or foolish? It’s easy to fall prey to the idea that God could never love someone like you or never use you in His kingdom. The devil loves to spread that lie: you are too stained for God to love. You’re too bad, too foolish.

When you start thinking like that, though, remember the stained glass window. By all accounts, a material so … translucent should never be used for a window. Yet in the hands of a skilled designer, even stained glass can be used, and used beautifully.

God is the ultimate Designer. He designed the greatest good the world has ever seen to come from the most heinous evil mankind has ever produced. You are never too stained for God to love. When you are feeling weak and foolish, give thanks to God for that, because that’s exactly the kind of person that God likes to use.

Rev. Daniel Larsen is pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church, Wabasso, Minnesota, and Trinity Lutheran Church, Sanborn, Minnesota.