God Writes Straight with Crooked Lines

Matthew 1: 1-16,18-23

I heard someone once say, “God writes straight with crooked lines.” If we reflect on this Gospel, I think that we can conclude that, yes, God does in fact write straight with crooked lines. We see it in our lives every day.  I’ll explain…


The genealogy of Jesus reminds us of an interweaving story of twists and turns, like that of a long running TV drama series. The story includes fascinating characters, significant historical figures, and scandalous sinners.  It illustrates what the first reading tells us that God does make “all things work together for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose"


Even the bad things that happen to us will get put to good use if we entrust them to the creativity of our all-powerful, mercifully loving God. The Jews who read or heard the recitation of Jesus' genealogy in today's Gospel reading saw this spiritual principle illustrated. The list of Christ's ancestors demonstrated that the Messiah came from a long line of sinners. The point of this reading is this: Despite the errors of the people, God accomplished his salvation plans.


For example, it was known that Jacob tricked Essau into selling his birthright. If Jacob had acted properly, Essau would have become the family's patriarch and the genealogical line would have gone off in a different direction.  But Jacob became one of the founding fathers of Judaism. From his line came Joseph, the husband of Mary.  If Essau had become head of the family, we might ask….Would Joseph still have been the foster father of the Messiah?


God's plans are always accomplished, eventually, one way or another. By putting God in charge of our lives, rather than taking matters into our own hands out of frustration and impatience, realizing that his timing is always perfect, and remembering that his plans are always good, we realize that we can and should have hope and joy, even while we suffer in the moment of today's trials.


God can make good come from evil. In our minds eye, we can imagine Satan looking on with glee as tries to find ways to gum up God’s plan, saying in effect to God, “Let’s see you fix this mess”…. Only to see God come out on top at the end, kinda like the Roadrunner, thwarting the plans of Wylie Coyote. God does write straight with crooked lines.


What mishaps have discouraged us in our lifetimes?  What sins have diverted our paths from God's plans?  What problems have other people caused us? What mistakes have we made that we strongly wish had never happened?  Here’s the thing:


Is God bigger than any of these dilemmas?  Does he care about us enough to make these dilemmas useful for our personal and spiritual growth? Does he want to make them work as blessings so that he can achieve more victories for his kingdom? Of course, the answer is yes, yes and yes!


Is God imaginative enough to find a way to do what seems impossible? The answer to that is yes as well!


So, why do we limit our hopes to what only seems possible in our very limited perspectives?  God enjoys doing the unexpected. He enjoys surprising us. And so, we should not be surprised that he wants to turn bad times into blessings for us.


Consider what we celebrate today, September 8th. Mary was born without the effects of Original Sin so that she could later carry God in her totally human womb.  If the Divine Father of Mary could do the impossible once for the sake of his salvation plan, he can do it again and again. And he wants to!


God makes all things work together for the good of those who love him and respond to his calling to serve his purposes. God can make zig zag lines as straight as an arrow.  His will is sovereign and always gets accomplished, one way or the other.


Children conceived out of wedlock are written into God's plans in sometimes spectacular ways. Every life is precious to God. No one is a mistake, not even a deformed or short-lived child. God makes all things work together for the good of those who love him and respond to his calling to serve his purposes.


So we pray today for wisdom. Lord, help us see the longer view. Help us realize that each of us have been called in a special way and for a special purpose. We will not worry about things that go wrong, for we know that you will develop awesome plans despite them – or maybe even because of them.  Amen!


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