Our next door neighbor growing up was Mr. Bilow. (I don’t remember his first name. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t “Mister.”). I don’t know remember a lot about him. I was just a kid. But I do remember that Mr. Bilow restored old cars. Tow trucks would drag broken down jalopies into his driveway; Mr. Bilow would push the car into his garage, and then he would begin to work. In many ways, Mr. Bilow was an artist. Cars would enter his garage as a rusty, ugly bucket of bolts and leave his garage as a gleaming, restored vintage automobile. Mr. Bilow looked at those broken down vehicles and saw what they could become.
That’s how I want to be. Not with cars, but as I view our world. I long to see Christ restore the whole earth. I want to look at the broken systems and misappropriated ideologies and see what could happen when God’s Kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven.
Last weekend’s horrid events in France reminded me again how broken our world has become. When terrorists indiscriminately destroy and kill, I still want my focus to be on the One who declares, “I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:5). When everything within me wants to run in fear, I need to be reminded that God tells us over and over in his Word, “Fear Not!” (Truth: 365 times the Bible says, “Fear not.” Coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe God wants us remember every day of the year, even on days when terrorists wreak their havoc: FEAR NOT).
Like Mr. Bilow looking at a broken down Chevy and seeing a hot rod, I want to look at the world not through the terrorist’s evil agenda and blurred vision but through a God sized lens and imagine the possibilities of what could happen when people of God roll up our sleeves and get to the work of offering our world God sized solutions. Paul reminded a handful of believers in a thoroughly pagan culture in Thessalonica that “Our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.” (1 Thessalonians 1:5) Our world doesn’t need more words. The talking heads on the news channels give us plenty of words. What our world needs is a lived out Gospel message that has power, the Holy Spirit and a deep conviction. What our world is dying for is the dynamic, creative, transformative work of the Holy Spirit empowering us to love even our enemies and offering a better way to our broken down, fearful culture.
What rust and age destroyed, Mr. Bilow restored.
What sin and evildoers attempt to destroy, Jesus restores. Fear Not!