Victory in Rebellion

Victory in Rebellion

I was sitting in the library studying for a sermon when, a little ways off, I saw a little boy meandering around a display of books for sale. I didn’t pay him much mind, but his strikingly bright brown eyes were hard to ignore. They were exceptional, beyond the expected brightness that so characterizes childlike innocence. So I watched him as he picked up a book with a flashy adventurous cover, the kind that would grab the attention of boy his age. His father was watching too, and we both noticed the cover held his only interest in the book.

My thoughts drifted back to my sermon, until I heard the little boy’s father say sternly, “That’s not where you got that book from.” As I looked up, the father picked up the book, from a display wrapped in rainbow crepe paper and returned it to the “for sale” table. The sternness of the reply for the innocent “mistake” startled me to attention.

As the little boy’s father turned to walk away, I watched as the little boy sauntered back toward the “for sale” table and the book. He turned to see if his father was watching, and his eyes caught mine. His movements, which were intended to disguise bad intentions, accomplished the very opposite.

After realizing his father was not watching, and deciding my gaze held no knowledge or no matter, he picked up the book and returned it directly to the place he alone had decided it should be. As he skipped away, he gave me a knowing look, and the delight in his brilliant brown eyes startled me.

He was maybe four or five, and he wore all the innocence of his age and his act, yet the brightness of his eyes could not hide the joy he had taken in his rebellion against his father. The resting place of a book he did not own and had not read was undoubtedly not the source of his joy. It was the rebellion itself. He had defied his father, gotten away with it, and skipped away in victory.

The little boy’s father did not see his act of defiance, nor the delight he took in it, but my Father sees mine. He sees them all. My acts of rebellion and the joy I take in them. Mine aren’t nearly so inconsequential as a book on the wrong shelf. They are more mature, darker, affect more people. They bear the marks of a seasoned sinner.

As the weight of the object lesson began to fall, I found it hard to focus on the sermon, so I got up to leave the library. But just as quickly as the shame descended, so also the reminder of grace came. My Father indeed sees, and yet He saves. He sees my acts of rebellion and the joys I take in them, and nonetheless, He still sees me as His son. The beauty that rises from the dark ashes of my joyful defiance is at the very heart of the work of Christ. It is the glory of His work, that resounds in His praise. He takes our sin and rebellion, bears the penalty for them, triumphs over them, then graciously shares His victory with us.

I sat back down and finished preparing the sermon, still marveling at the irony. Despite the victory we take in rebellion, Jesus graciously provides victory from our rebellion. All glory be to Christ our King.


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