The gospel is radical. Did you know that…?
I didn’t, for a long time. I knew the gospel to be God’s demanding rules on our self-denial and the framework for some kind of achievement scale. No kidding. And I took it seriously.
And at the same time, from the very beginning, I wanted to understand. In-depth, fundamentally, comprehensively. You say, “grace”. I say, “what does that mean?” They said, “unconditional”. I said, “what does that MEAN?”
And I assumed that’s what they wanted. I assumed that was what we were all doing. I was dedicated, I was committed, and I took it seriously. The more I tried to understand though, the more the paradoxes became apparent between the gospel and the life they told me to lead, between a love without conditions and the expectations they had on me, between their idea of love – approval, behaviour, appearance, submission – and my experiences of God’s love. I didn’t know God then, but God made her way into my life, despite everything, despite the messed up teaching I received. That’s the irony of it all, that they also taught me the dedication to God that made me leave their church – after years of trying to make it work, of trying to find the logic in their ways of thinking and believing, of trying to solve the discrepancies in their explanations in their favour.
It’s hard if you live in a church where there has to be an answer to everything. I found out over time that there isn’t and that that’s okay. And that’s trust and faith and letting God carry me. It’s not about trying harder very often but about “trying softer”… (if that doesn’t make sense, my last post – reblogged from “Richer By Far” – will make sense of it).
God is gentle.
God is kind.
God enjoys my being, my presence, who I am, what I enjoy.
Gentleness is not what I experienced to begin with. And by nature and nurture, I tend not to be very gentle with myself. Go deeper, go further, understand, comprehend, become more. But God says, try softer.
You don’t know everything.
Let it go.
Trust me instead.
Let me hold you.
You won’t solve anything by living with all that tension in your mind.
Open up, release the pressure, grace will fill the empty spaces.
This is how God comes to us – as a baby. Vulnerable, fragile, weak. No high achiever, no perfect capabilities but a human being who needs to be loved, who has to trust others to take care of his needs. A human being resting in someone else’s arms. A human being who owns nothing and knows nothing and who has no home.
So I try… Sometimes I end up trying hard to try softer! And God relentlessly reminds me,
leave it to me…
do what you love, be with those you love, and ENJOY it all as much as possible…
that’s all I need from you…
let the rest go
The gospel is radical. Radically good news, about a radically good and loving God, who is radically open to who we truly are, radically welcoming and accepting. God’s radical love for us is what it’s all about in the end. You and I, we are radically loved…
And what God asks us to do is to love each other in the same way. To be as open, as welcoming, as radically accepting with each other as God is with us. And that’s turned out to be so incredibly difficult. While what all of us want is just that. While the lack of radical acceptance, the lack of unconditional love, past and present, is what we all struggle with. Still we can’t give this kind of acceptance to each other. Maybe because there are no guarantees that the others will respond in kind. It’s one way to put myself in danger, one sure way of becoming incredibly vulnerable. And still this is the choice God made for us.
Here I am. Be with me.