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A Gospel For The Inglorious

The gospel is glorious.

There are few better ways to describe the earth-shattering, mind-blowing realities of the good news of the new kingdom.

The gospel truly is the most glorious message one may ever hear or utter. Of course, this is right that we expect it to be so wonderful, after all, the gospel is the story of God himself, and who is more glorious than Yahweh?

But let me tell you of the gospel for the inglorious.

I was devouring every post, every article, every book I could find on adoption. My wife and I were preparing to become foster carers for the first time, and we were convinced that this was a gospel-inspired ministry worthy of our energy and time. So I found the right blogs. I poured through forums looking for resources. Story after story scrolled down my screen, and through each one came the glorious groundswell of the gospel. Filtered images of tiny hands being gripped securely by those who I imagined walk with an air of grace that only the gospel can give filled my mind's eye.

The stories I read dripped with the gospel. I imagined myself in years to come, filled with sage-like wisdom; keenly attuned sensitivities to the gospel due to this great work we were undertaking. I wanted a story that bled the gospel just like all the ones I was reading.

I imagined myself in years to come, filled with sage-like wisdom. But I have discovered a gospel for the inglorious. A gospel for the mundane.

A gospel for the glorious. That's what I wanted.

But I have discovered a gospel for the inglorious. A gospel for the mundane. A gospel for the sorrow. A gospel for the dark hours of early mornings. A gospel for the frustrations of unrealistic expectations. A gospel for tantrums. A gospel for cleaning up another mess. A gospel for broken lives, and a gospel for broken hearts.

A gospel for the inglorious. That's what I needed.

I am more convinced than ever that a ministry of adoption and foster care reflects our Eternal Father's heart in a unique and special way. But I was wrong on so many other things.

I had confused a glorious gospel with a gospel that brings glory.

Romantic notions of the gospel bubbling up with blessing through Instagrammed moments have long faded away; these have been replaced with raw and gritty images, often poorly framed and unbalanced. I am still often tempted to try and 'touchup' my days, cropping the boarders, masking the blemishes, and highlighting the 'sweet spot'. I want to do this to show that the gospel is for the glorious, and that my story is worthy of making some gospel-centred blog role.

Instead, I'm discovering a gospel for the inglorious. A gospel that enters the darkest of days and drives out despair. A gospel that replaces hopelessness with a confidence that transcends the simple notion that 'tomorrow will be better' and is instead rooted in the realities of eternity.

This is the gospel I needed to discover, and the gospel I need to be reminded of as, later today, I change another pair of soiled pants.

It is a gospel for the inglorious.


Photos: Angelina Koh (head), Mary W (body); flickr

Chris Thomas serves as the Teaching Pastor of Raymond Terrace Community Church in the Hunter Valley of NSW, Australia. Chris's desire is to see the church captivated by the glory of God and equipped for all that God has planned to accomplish through her. Chris met his wife while on short term mission, and is now the proud father to three boys and two girls. Having been raised in far North Queensland, it is not uncommon to see Chris sitting bare-foot around a camp fire with a hot cup of coffee in his hand. You can follow him on Twitter at @cbthomas76, or read his blog at wordfocused.com.

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