I shuffled back and forth along the tile connecting my laundry room to my kitchen. A full day at home demanded clothes to clean and a kitchen to tidy. On one of my passes back towards the laundry room with an armful of goods to return to the pantry, I collided with my eight-year-old son’s small form.
I readied myself to dish out the yes or no to whatever request on his lips, when his words arrested me.
He timidly held the kindle he was just previously reading on the couch and whispered, “Mommy, I think Pax is like Jesus.”
The small words hung between us, as my half-hearted focus shifted into full attention.
I leaned closer. “Oh yeah, why’s that?” I asked.
My eight-year-old had just finished another book in The Dream Keeper Saga by Kathryn Butler. In that laundry room, while holding a container of peanut butter pretzels against my abdomen, I heard how Pax, the loveable dragon, sacrificed his own welfare for the sake of others.
I listened intently, and inside my heart flooded with gratefulness. In the midst of his reading, my son had spotted a hint of Christ. As he devoured the story, his little mind started making connections. Of course, he’s heard about Jesus’s death and resurrection since he was little. We’ve talked about the sacrificial love of God in sending his Son over and over again. We’ve read the devotions, prayed the words—yet in this fantasy adventure, my son got a glimpse of these truths played out. He got just a little taste of what sacrifice looks like. Yes, this is like what Jesus did.
Of course, fiction pales in comparison to the true story of Christ in Scripture, yet we can still find a great resource in the imaginative, written word. Books enable us to see truths and virtues played out in a way we can sometimes more easily understand. Good stories guide us to see what big words like sacrifice, grace, substitution, and forgiveness mean in a multitude of situations.
Yet the more I think about that day in the laundry room with my son, the more I realize that it’s not in books alone where we view these truths played out. Glimpses of the gospel and of our Savior can be found all around us.
We see a reflection of our Savior when the pastor bears the burdens of our heart and gently shares the balm of encouragement and wisdom we need.
Or when a sister or brother in Christ quietly embraces us while tears of deep grief spill down our faces.
We see his likeness when a church member shows up at our door with a casserole and a listening ear, showing us that they’ve chosen to draw near and make our pain their own.
Or when we watch our spouse give up their time, energy, and desires for what we need.
We catch a glimpse of Christ when we grab coffee with a friend who has been there for us through years of ups and downs.
When we see someone else model the love, comfort, sacrifice, or mercy of Christ, we, too, find ourselves catching a glimpse of the truths we’ve known for years played out in front of our eyes.
Ultimately we were all meant to reflect the glory of our good God. Sin distorted this reflection, yet when his children abide in him, God slowly wipes the sullied mirror clean. The Spirit of God transforms us to resemble the God we love (2 Cor. 3:18), and we reflect that image to others (1 Cor. 11:1; 1 Pet. 2:21).
In his grace, God uses his people to put legs to concepts like grace, sacrifice, comfort, and faithfulness for another. In the midst of our suffering and grief, the Spirit uses his children to awaken the truths we’ve heard about for so long. This is what his comfort looks like. This is what his care feels like. He uses these saints to remind us who he is. These tangible representations of our Savior bolster our faith and fill us with new understanding and love for him.
When we read that Christ is wisdom itself, we can remember just how much we prize the counsel of a wise brother. Verses that talk about the steadfast love of our Father hit nearer when we’ve watched a friend forsake their own needs in order to step into our grief. Passages about the covenant love of our God feel a little clearer after a lifetime journeyed next to a spouse or a dear friend. The comfort of the Lord feels like a tangible reality when we’ve been gripped in the arms of a fellow saint.
It’s in these moments that we, too, find ourselves whispering, “Daddy, I think they’re like you.”
Have you seen the glimpses of his face? Oh, let’s look for them—in books, yes, but in the very faces, arms, and words of the saints that surround us. Let them drive us back to our beautiful Savior.
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