I finished reading The Familiar Stranger yesterday. When I started the novel, I didn’t think it was my kind of book—faithful Christian wife, lousy dirtbag husband, yada, yada, yada. But Christina kept pulling me in with each chapter. Letting me in on some new information until I couldn’t stop reading. I had to know what was going on. When I finished it I was sorry to see it end. The characters became so real to me. I was particularly happy with the ending. Talk about drama! A wonderful book. I can see why it won a first book award. This author is right up there with Angela Hunt, Deb Raney, and the rest.
Transformations That Matter
My daughter stood before the fruit bowl in my kitchen, wrinkling her nose. A bunch of dark-skinned bananas, their spines dotted with large brown spots, occupied the bowl. She waved her hand. Tiny gnats fluttered above the overripe fruit.
I sighed at how quickly those bananas had deteriorated. Only five days before, that same cluster had come home from the store sporting bright yellow skin amid patches of green—colors of freshness to tempt the pickiest fruit lover.
But I knew something my daughter didn’t know. I pulled back the ugly peel to check the condition of the fruit inside. The creamy flesh showed no bruising. Upon further examination the banana still sliced without turning to mush. The aging fruit had value despite its exterior. I would turn her “yucky” into a delectable cream pie. If I had enough, I could make bread as well.
People are a lot like those bananas. Babies come into the world new and untouched, straight from the hand of God. Then life happens. Sin creeps in. As time passes, the baby grows, carrying the scars of a thousand hurts life has inflicted. Some wounds are glancing blows, others penetrate the soul. Before long the outer child is damaged, his rosy glow darkened. His life resembles that series of brown dots, painful memories he cannot connect nor can he remove.
Jesus has promised to rescue that broken life, to see beyond the exterior of the person damaged by time. He peels back the layers of decay and searches the heart. Like a trained surgeon he salvages the real prize—the inner soul of the human being. He changes that life into something new. According to 2 Corinthians 5:17 anyone who is in Christ has been made “a new creation”. The old has passed away, all has become new.
The Great Physician that he is, Jesus transforms us into something better. Each day with Him is one in which He prepares us for His kingdom. Like the choice to make the bananas into pies or bread, He directs us, leading us to lives that will decide if we are rich or poor, exalted or humbled. What will matter in the end is that we will be redeemed, the peel of sin pulled back and the flesh of salvation revealed. We become new, the “yucky” gone.
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