Lenny was a happy fellow. He was a chef. He had cooking talent like the world had never seen before. He had more work than he could do, and he loved doing it. A combination of the finest ingredients and Lenny’s cooking skill always produced a perfect meal.
Leonora was also a chef. Her skill level didn’t really match Lenny’s, but then her style of cooking was different. Her food was always excellent. But, part of her ability to satisfy a hungry stomach was in setting up an atmosphere that was comfortable.
Carl was a master carpenter. He used top quality material. He built things to last.
Connie was tailor. She made clothing from scratch for specific individuals. She considered herself far above a ‘fashion designer’ because she made garments that were classic in design, durable, and appropriate for most occasions.
Lenny, Lenora, Carl, and Connie are all perfectionists. They love their work. They take pride in doing a good job. Their reputations as craftsmen/women or even artists are very important to them.
Here’s the problem. They are really good at what they do. But, in order to do their jobs well, circumstances must cooperate. They need perfect people, materials, and circumstances. Guess what? That seldom, if ever, happens.
Lenny will find that sometimes the best ingredients for his meals are not available at any price. Sometimes he will have to change his menu at the last minute. Sometimes he will have to change recipes entirely, or make an entirely new recipe with the ingredients at hand.
Lenora will find that the atmosphere of comfort and relaxation she strives for is not always possible because of circumstances and difficult people.
Carl, the master carpenter, will find he has to make do with lumber that isn’t really top quality. It may be up to building code standards, but it isn’t really up to Carl’s standard. He has to build anyway.
Connie also has problems. She has to work with people who are not perfect in size. Her skill as a tailor cannot compensate for a size 42 inch waist on a man who is only five feet tall.
Each of these people will manage to do a good job. Their level of skill at what they do and their love for what they do will make the difference. Even during difficult circumstances, they will still stand out as exceptionally good at their vocation. People will look at their work and wonder how they did it while under difficult circumstances, without real cooperation from many people, and without exactly the right tools, materials, or ingredients. They didn’t do a perfect job, but with the given the materials and circumstances, they did the best job that could possibly have been done.
Of course these people really weren’t perfect. Nobody looks at them and faults them for not having done a job that was literally perfect, because people understand that they are working without perfect materials, circumstances, or other people.
There is no utter perfection to be found in this world. No matter how good the intention, how great the skill, how determined the individual, there is nothing that can be made or done that is utterly perfect because there are no utterly perfect materials, people, circumstances, or places. There are also no perfect craftsmen or women.
Our God is perfect. He is perfect continually in every way. However, God works with imperfection. Creation isn’t perfect now, although it was perfect when God first made it. People aren’t perfect. And creation is filled with saboteurs who don’t want a good outcome in many instances.
It is common among mankind to either disregard God altogether, or to blame Him entirely for everything that goes wrong in the world. What is forgotten is that God is working with imperfect people and materials. In this world, there is trouble and woe. While each of us wants our family, friends, and ourselves to live a long and healthy life, we know it won’t be perfect. And it will probably be shorter than we would like.
Thankfully, the God of creation, who is perfect, wants a way to interact with all people on an individual basis. He is willing to work with imperfect people. Yet, God will stay perfect. Now how is that going to happen? Well, frankly, I don’t have any idea. It appears that ‘imperfection’ is quarantined to a specific area of creation. We live in a particular space for a specific time span. Eventually each individual dies and the quarantine ends. Actually, at the point of death, our quarantine is ended eternally, or extended eternally. Those who have accepted the offer of Jesus Christ to enter the perfect realm of heaven through His sacrifice are set free from all imperfection and have a permanent home in heaven. Those who have rejected the invitation to be adopted into the family of God will be forever quarantined in hell.
For those who believe, salvation is promised. But in the meantime, Jesus Himself warns of tribulations, and encourages us to be at peace with the troublesome events in our lives and the world; AND to be cheerful in knowing our eventual escape from the hard things of this world. John 16:33 tells us, ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’
Living in this imperfect world, there are many words of comfort given to us by God in the Bible.
Romans 8:36-39 tell us,
’35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Romans 8:36-39 tell us,
36. As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’
Those are words of comfort during the trials Christians face. But God gives us more than comfort for today. He gives us a glimpse of our bright future.
Isaiah 35:10 tells us joy to come. ‘And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.’
1 Corinthians 2:9 gives us a glimpse of the wonderful world into which believers in Jesus Christ will go. ‘But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.’
The words of life and the words by which we are to live are in the Bible. To know what it says is the Christians first line of defense against everything the world, the devil, and personal weakness can throw at them. The teachings of God are greater than anything – even how you feel. That’s right Christian – God is greater than how you feel.
Remember, you are an imperfect human being living in an imperfect world. It is natural to feel defeated and sorrowful sometimes. That is the time to remember that God is greater than how feel, and to throw yourself even deeper into Bible study and prayer. God is faithful to do all that He has promised. Christians alone can look beyond the tears and fears and KNOW we have eternal life in the perfect home of God. Followers of Jesus Christ alone have this promise given to us in 1 John 3:2,
‘Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.’
God encourages His children yet again in Hebrews 10:23 when He tells us, ‘Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)’
By Barbara Henderson
Great is Thy Faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!