I am not hip. And the fact that I used “hip” proves my point.
I don’t Instagram. I just don’t get it I guess. Folks take pictures, add effects and captions, make corrections and share their “stuff.” Did I get it right? I’ve tried to get into it a couple of times but I just don’t get it.
But yesterday I played around with the photo editing application on my phone a little and it made me think. This is the photo I started with.
Now add a little cropping, lighting effects, and a cool border and I ended up with this.
I managed to crop away the unpleasantness and background noise. I changed the lighting and made Dog Dog look more handsome. And the rugged border just made a neat finishing touch.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if life was like that? There are so many “albums” of my life that I would give anything to hit the delete button and eradicate. Isn’t that the delight of digital photography? You have the ability to review each picture and make the imperfect ones disappear. Or as with Instagram, you can drop them into a photo editing software and fix all the problems.
Life though is more like good old 35mm film. You had to take the pictures, finish the roll, wait for it to develop, and then you found out if anything was good or not. And there was no recycling film. When it was done it was done and you had to make the best of what you took or trash it.
But consider the 35 mm film. Did you ever get the pictures back and find out of a whole roll of duds there was one absolutely phenomenal shot? Or one photobomb that made the picture worth saving? One unexpected image that you didn’t notice when you were shooting but was absolutely stunning? What if you had trashed the roll before developing because you just knew it was worthless?
I have been working on this post for two days in bites and snippets and this morning I was struck by the perfect illustration. Consider Judas and Peter.
Judas gets a bad rap in my opinion. Yes, he betrayed Jesus but where would our redemption story begin without him? The Jews and Romans weren’t stupid; they would have found Jesus and arrested him if they were serious about it. I have no commentary back up on this except my own prayer and reflection but look at Judas as a person bringing the sin sacrifice to the temple. The lamb has to be delivered to the priest by someone in order for forgiveness to be had by all on the Day of Atonement, right? No one vilifies him. Judas delivered The Lamb but because The Lamb was human this time around, he is evil.
Judas felt that failure and saw the result of his action and hit delete before the film was developed. (Matthew 27:1-10; Acts 1:15-19) I wonder what would have happened to Judas if he had still been around after the Resurrection. Would his story have been like Peter’s?
Peter betrayed Jesus too! (Matthew 26: 69-75) I know everyone calls it “denial” but isn’t it very similar? He hung him out to dry. He was afraid for his own life so he didn’t stand up for Jesus. And not just once with a kiss; Peter denied him three times. He had just as much guilt to deal with as Judas because he had been warned too!
Here’s the thing. Peter hung around to see what developed. Peter waited for Jesus to Instagram his life. (John 21:15-17) What a transformation! Peter was taken from rough, rash, impulsive fisherman to pastor and church builder extraordinaire. That’s some serious God effects!
As badly as I may want to delete those whole albums of my life, I have seen with time’s passing how God has edited those pictures and experiences into my current mindset, faith and life. My life is richer for those moments that I would have once upon a time deleted without a second thought because they aren’t pretty. But look! In the background of that picture is a mountain climbing adventure that added one of the dearest people to my heart. And further down that roll, is a college roommate who made me laugh over even the most stressful moments.
And in that next roll is the roommate who became my dearest heart friend who has been with me in spite of being left out of the third roll of film by my own omission. God has woven it all together to create who I am and the passion I have for Him. I will not know the final effects until I sit at the Father’s feet but I pray that when God hits “Share” on my life, He is showing His handiwork and awesome effects.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 & 12
He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.