References to Australia paper July 2021
One of the wonderful things I love about God is that He is a God of infinite creativity and variety. Look at the world He has made; all the thousands of zebras, giraffe and tigers, and not one of them has the same markings as any other. Think of all the human beings who have ever lived, and not one of us has the same fingerprints. Even every single one of billions and billions of snowflakes is unique! Look at leaves for instance. There are so many varieties of shapes and sizes and variations of colour in them. And yet they are all distinct in their species so that we can know an oak leaf from a fig leaf or a palm leaf anywhere. Did you know that there are 26 different species of flea on a stoat?!
In this paper you will read the stories of people who have come to know Jesus personally and you may think that coming to Christ means that God will take away your individuality and make you boring. But God doesn’t make cookie-cutter Christians – Christians come in as many varieties as fruit seeds. Rocker Alice Cooper on page 9 is a very different sort of Christian to the country singer on page 3 [Coffey Anderson], or the para-Olympian on page 12 [Jessica Long]. When we become Christians God doesn’t erase our uniqueness but enhances it, since He is the one who made us unique in the first place! He doesn’t wipe our past out of existence, but reshapes and heals our experiences, the good and the bad, to make us into a beautiful masterpiece reflecting His glory. Each of us has a special aspect of the Creator that we can display to the world through our lives.
Just as there are so many variations in human beings in terms of skin colour, facial features, body shape and hair texture, so there are a beautiful rainbow of differences in the people who follow God.
When I was a teenager I thought that if I gave myself fully to God He would send me as a single missionary into a poor, remote place. That is what I though all true God-followers did. What did He do instead? He fulfilled my deep longing for a husband and children and helped me use my natural talents, studies and personal experiences to bring Him glory in ways that also bring me more joy than I could have imagined.
Rest assured that if you turn your life over to God, your individuality will not be erased. You become a new creation in Christ but that new you is still you. God wants all sorts of Christians – intellectual ones and practical ones, dreamers and rule followers, extroverts and introverts, laughers and criers, the impetuous and the fearful, those who like ritual and those who like spontaneity. All people from all backgrounds and histories and abilities, carrying all sorts of burdens and sins, are all invited to find their true selves in relationship with Jesus Christ, who redeems us from our pasts and gives us a hope and an eternal future with Him.