they make me think for a minute that there may actually be hope for the church.
last night, we were talking about god’s “blessings” and how they sometimes look like suffering. referring to god’s judgment in romans 2:4, paul wrote, “…do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?”
when it comes to the way god molds and matures his children, my views have changed significantly over the past few years. i’m thinking that maybe god highest and best for us doesn’t always feel high and good.
i recently ran across an article my mark galli in christianity today that articulates my views beautifully. ishare the following excerpts for you, my bloggy buddies, and for my beloved small group as an addendum to our conversation of last night.
and i share them as a reminder for me.
For one we can stop pretending God is nice, as if it’s his job to make our lives well-adjusted or religious or even spiritual. Jesus did not say he came to give us happiness, only blessedness. He did not promise an easy life, only an abundant one. He doesn’t call us to be religious or spiritual, but to love God and love others. We can save ourselves a lot of grief if we recognize that up front.
If we’re living with the heartache and pain of failure—failure at work, failure of a marriage, failure in morals, failure at raising children—we must let the heartache and pain work its way into our hearts and minds. Not salve it with, “You’ll do better next time!” or “You did your best” or “Try this way of doing it!” No, we must say what a thing is—a failure on our part—and let the reality embed itself in our consciousness. Only then will we see a gracious space in our souls, where God has already entered and said, “I forgive your failure.” Many have found that after a moral or personal failure, only then have they been able to be forgiving and patient with others’ failings.
Jesus refuses to be put in a religious box. He’s not a nice Savior, whose goal is to make us feel better about ourselves and become well-adjusted, productive members of society. All that is well and good, and it is part of our lot in life. But this is not the mission of Jesus. He’s not interested in nice, well-adjusted people, but mostly in people who forgive and love. And sometimes he has to bring a little chaos into our lives to help us become the people he’s called us to be.