I’ve been thinking lately. I’ve been listening, too.
I’ve been preparing to speak at a University here in my town. It was a big deal for me because I live in the town where I was broken. A few years ago I was praying for a way to move somewhere else and God’s answer to me was, “You have to heal where you were broken. If you don’t heal where you were broken, then it will always be broken.”
And so I’m here…healing.
It’s been seven years and every once in a while I imagine grace washing the rest of the filth away. Once and for all.
Isn’t that what Jesus is all about?
“Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. -Hebrews 10:9-10
Getting asked to speak at this University was important to me. It increased my hope. But, maybe it was just my hope in people. My misplaced hope needed an alignment.
There are people who are not okay with me. They witnessed my worst and still live there. Like watering a weed garden or feeding a corpse, it’s still a tangible presence for some. In times like this, it’s a real presence for me, too.
A couple of people wrote the University and were heavy enough to have me uninvited. It wasn’t personal on the side of the University. They don’t know me. I can’t even take it personally from the wordsmiths. They don’t know me either. They’re lobbing grenades in the wrong direction.
I’m on the right track. It’s this that has me convinced.
Do you want to know what message is being fought against?
God loves you. It’s why He made you. You didn’t earn His love, He made what He loves. He has been telling you your entire life.
When you have messed up and done something you know you shouldn’t have done, it’s very hard to believe He’ll still love you. Your head knows the words, but your heart is breaking.
There is no place that is so far that He won’t walk through a jeering and violent crowd to get to you. He passed from life to death to live inside of you. God made you because He loved you. You were dancing in His mind before He put His hands in the clay. He saw you from pink infant to wrinkled and worn before He spoke this earth into existence. He knows every failure and every finish line. He has seen every tear and is the only one who knows what your heart sounds like when it laughs.
There is nothing that you have done or will do that would ever make Him change His mind about you. He already knows and He doesn’t change.
He’s leaving surprises for you in your memory. You have to get some distance to see them, and when you do, you go running back to look at it all again. He’s everywhere and He’s always the same. Going back to redeem that time is sobering when you look around, but there is peace in a proper burial. He’s waiting where it hurts and He with you on the way. Always with you and always the same.
He loves you. He’s not finished with you. You’re earning your wrinkles and He’s been looking forward to them.
I bet His eyes dance when you ‘get’ it. I bet the sun shines brighter when He knows you can see Him.
Enough times like these and you start looking for Him everywhere, even now, in your present. The best is when you start to see Him in the present. You don’t know what He’s doing, but He loves it when you watch Him work.
I am someone who has seen, what I hope is, my worst. And I am someone whose faith didn’t fail. I may, at times, sit alone. But I’m here. I can tell you that there will be a day when you can thank God for what happened when you focus on what happened between you and Him. There will be times when you feel like it’s you and Him against the world until someone else shows up to offer a hand. It’s always surprising and you can’t help but start to feel yourself reintegrate to the human race, but infinitely different this time.
There are more of us out there. We, the infinitely different…. We’ll find you and you’ll recognize us because you’ll recognize Him.
“Where two or three are gathered…”
Spreading the message of grace is a slow moving process. I’m in it for the long haul.