I did wonder about the title too, but that’s what popped to mind when reading Psalm 86 in the Lectionary, which took me to Eugene Peterson’s stirring rendition of Colossians 3:3-4 – “Your new life, which is your real life is with Christ in God….When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up too – the real you, the glorious you.”
One day, in other words, I’ll meet the real me, the fabulous new me Jesus has been moulding ever since God “picked us up and set us down in highest heavens in company with Jesus, our Messiah” (Ephesians 2:6, The Message). I hope it’s not stretching it too far, then, to say we each have two selfs – the old rust bucket we’re stuck in now and the new glorious self Jesus is creating. So I can’t help imagining meeting my beautifully Jesus-crafted self and on seeing it for the first time crying out, “Oh my God, I’m beautiful.”
It also comes from the typical reaction in people to their car, house or garden being given a total make over by experts, and nearly every time their response is, “Oh my God, it’s beautiful.” It amazes me too, what a bunch of colourful characters in a reality TV show like “Rust to Riches” can do with a wreck of a car. They transform it into a shiny, gleaming beauty. “Oh my God” then becomes a rather appropriate reaction, because such an amazing transformation really does seem like a miracle.
But where does Psalm 86 fit into this picture? Well, to me it adds to “Oh my God” being an appropriate reaction to seeing the Jesus-crafted me, because in verse 1 (The Message) David writes, ”I’m one miserable wretch,” but then in verse 13, “what love! You snatched me from the brink of disaster.” I can relate to that too. Like an old wreck of a car waiting its turn in the crusher (Romans 9:22) I was a miserable pile of unsalvageable junk too, but God gave me to Jesus for a total makeover and I’m now in his reality show of amazing transformation (2 Corinthians 3:18).
No wonder David wrote in Psalm 86:4, “I put myself in your hands.” To me, that’s like the owner of an old wreck of a car, or a rundown house, or an overgrown weed patch of a garden, happily backing off and handing their wreckage over to the renovating experts, trussing them to do their thing.
And it’s fortunate that the owner doesn’t get involved, because to begin with it’s not a pretty sight. Car bodywork is ripped off with crowbar and sledge hammer, the insides of a house are ripped out and dumped, and a garden is stripped bare. Nothing but the basic shell is left.
But what David experienced again and again was being snatched from the brink of disaster and God “putting me back on my feet” (verse 17), and giving him “the strength to go on” (verse 16) – a miraculous transformation by God every time David trusted him. If “Oh my God” had been a familiar expression of amazement back then, I imagine David would have said it too.
It springs so naturally to mind today as well, when the owner of the renovated house, car or garden is led in to the see the final product. Eyes open wide in amazement, or fill with tears, followed by a great shout of joy or weepy emotion, “Oh my God, it’s beautiful.”
Are they ever glad, then, that they “put themselves in the hands” of the experts and trusted them.
But that’s how Jesus’ reality show works too. He’ll do the transformation and all he asks of us is to trust in his skill and expertise. No matter how battered our old rust bucket self is, he’s creating a marvel out of us, so that one day not only do we say, “Oh my God, that’s beautiful,” so does the world (1 John 3:2).
But that’s our Jesus for you; he loves a reality show too. The Message translation of Psalm 86:17 ties in rather nicely with that as well, in David saying, “Make a show of how much you love me” – a “show,” take note – because that’s exactly what God gave us to Jesus for, to show in our transformation just how great he intended us humans to be when he created us.