This little book has recently captured my fancy. Called Beautiful, Oops!, it is a whole new type of pop-up book, celebrating the potential in every "mistake." The book itself is a study in creativity-- totally thinking "outside the box." This would be a GREAT way to start a discussion with your children on God as Redeemer; One who reclaims for Himself what is captive, ugly and wrong, making it beautiful, holy and right by His very presence. Watch a video of it here.
Our culture prefers the word "mistake." It's somehow easier to say than "sin." It doesn't imply evil, just misunderstanding or poor judgement. Maybe even accidental action or inaction. And we make a lot of those (I know I do). Several times I've heard friends try to pass off a serious hurtful sin as "one mistake" lately. Well, it was a mistake... and it was also a sin. Bearing this in mind, that labeling something a "mistake" doesn't let us off the hook where repentance is concerned, this little book contains a lot of truth. The first way to go about seeing something beautiful come from a sinful mistake always must be repentance; an admission of guilt, an apology, an asking for forgiveness from the offended party AND from God, and a resolve to turn from that sin and do the opposite. With our pride gone and forgiveness granted we are free to be amazed at how God weaves our mistake, our weakness, our sin, into a glorious tapestry of grace and joy.
This has got me thinking...thinking about a blog post written by a friend of mine who just found out that his youngest adopted son, whom he will soon bring home from Ethiopia, was conceived in rape. Woah. Talk about sobering. By my friend's account, the girl was quite young-- some might still call her a little girl-- and she was violently assaulted, violated by a sick man's lust, never to be innocent again. Talk about a "mistake." That doesn't even do it justice-- that wasn't a mistake; it was sin; despicable, awful, terrible, harmful, the stench of death. Yet, out of that terror-inducing, evil, agonizing violence God brought a beautiful thing: someone made in His Own Image. Wow. From one man's wicked act God brought life, and in His mercy the girl bearing that life prized it above her own comfort. She carried her son, gave birth, and then did everything in her power to see that her son --the baby she never asked for from a man she had every right to hate-- was cared for. And she went away happy. That girl -so young, so poor, so far away- whose name I do not know has become one of my heroes as a mother.
What did God bring out of an evil, disgusting sin? First of all, a baby boy, fearfully and wonderfully made. Secondly, the joy of a desperately poor young Ethiopian mother, who has peace in her heart and on her face in knowing that she sacrificed herself for her son. Thirdly, the delight of my friends, who have a son to love and hold and teach. Fourthly, the enrichment of his brother and two sisters, who will now grow up sharing all their memories with him. Think of the aunts, the uncles, the cousins, the grandparents, the friends, the school teachers, the doctors, the nurses whom he will touch... The list will go on and on as this child grows. His parents are bound to Cameroon to translate Scripture there; it could be that he will save the lives-- physical or spiritual-- of thousands there; time only will tell.
Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." (Genesis 50:20)You can read even more "Beautiful Oops" stories here, as 4 adoptive parents recount the miracles that brought their precious children into their arms. I love the pictures of these smiling babies that are beside each story (I have held and changed several of the children featured!). One of the most striking paragraphs to me:
Shortly after our son Isaiah was born, he was abandoned in a high school. He was found sobbing and with the umbilical cord still attached by a man named Teshome. We will forever be thankful for his kindness in saving our son’s life! He took Isaiah to the police, and from there he was sent to an orphanage. We are often brought to tears thinking about how close Isaiah came to death. He is such a happy, curious, strong boy and brings us so much joy and delight. We praise the Lord for protecting his life and allowing us to be his parents!Contrast that with this view of mistakes:
Oh Lord, keep us from the arrogance that would make us judges of the effects of sin-- either our own or one inflicted upon us. Give us hearts dedicated to Redemption; determined and expectant to see You work unimaginable beauty from our ashes!
"To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified." (Isaiah 61:3)