On January 8th, 2002, President George W. Bush came to Hamilton, Ohio, to sign the education reform bill into law. It was a big day for a little town. Excitement escalated rapidly in the days before his visit, as the high school principal met with Secret Service agents to discuss security measures, last-minute landscaping operations beautified the grounds around the school, and city officials worked out the details of traffic flow. It all came to a head on the morning of the day itself, when schoolchildren ran out of their classrooms into schoolyards in sub-freezing weather (without their coats!) to wave as the helicopters carrying the presidential party flew overhead. Those individuals lucky enough to obtain tickets to the event were the envy of their classmates, families and friends. And almost everyone in town, it seemed, watched the event live on the local TV broadcast.
Now, several weeks after the event, a photo collage of the occasion is being offered for sale in stores in the Hamilton area. Hundreds of tiny photos taken that day are grouped together in such a way that, when viewed as a unit from a distance, they form a picture of President Bush. Perhaps you've seen the same technique used in television and magazine ads recently. The end result is a striking image that has caught my attention each time I've stopped at the store. I always have to move in for a closer look. I'm sure that many of those people who were in the high school auditorium that day have looked to see if their likeness was perhaps captured in one of the photos that make up the image of the president. My gaze has always drifted eventually to the price list posted by the photo display, causing me to move on quickly to whatever shopping I came into the store to do.
But God used that photo to remind me that as Christians, each day of our lives is a snapshot of a moment in time with the Lord. Day after day as our lives unfold, the pictures accumulate, until at some point in time we can look back and likewise see an image form out of the collection of our days - a picture of Jesus Christ. If He truly lives in us, then He will be reflected in our lives for the world to see. The more photos in our collection (the more experiences we have in Christ), the clearer the image of Him will be.
So often we are guilty of wishing away the days of difficulty in our walk with Him. We delight in the sunshine of His blessing, but ask that the dark days of suffering and pain be spared us, or at least cut short in our lives. Yet Christ is as present with us when we hurt as He is when we're happy, and the photos of those days make a sharper image of Christ in our lives for a watching world to see.
Once we become Christians we no longer live our lives for ourselves. Rather, our whole purpose on earth now becomes to make Christ visible to others. Therefore we should delight in whatever each new day brings, be it joy unspeakable, unbearable sorrow, or any emotion inbetween, knowing that allowing Christ to have His way in us on that day will bring His image in our lives that much more in focus to others.
Once His likeness becomes visible in your life, people around you will move in for a closer look. They'll look to see if they can see themselves in any of the situations you've been through. And who knows but that what they see in your "photo collage" may propel them into a relationship with Jesus of their own, out of which the image of Christ may likewise someday arise.
To buy the picture of President Bush in that photo collection will cost you an arm and a leg. To purchase the image of Christ in the midst of our days cost Jesus His life. We should therefore live those days in a manner worthy of the price He paid.
"This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."