It seems, in some manner, what is singularly most delightful to God are the choices of humans to continue trusting when there is very little indication of payoff. They are not throwing God’s promises in His face, saying, “Do this, now! I’m standing on the promises, so keep up your end of the deal.” They are not pretending they know what is right for God to do in any situation. They vulnerably risk trusting His goodness, the unexplainable beauty of His circumspect, even though they know it will often play out differently than they might initially choose. They don’t stand on, “God promised me this” and then live out measured and guarded disillusionment when it doesn’t happen. Their faith is the texture of something entirely different. It is the simple, quiet conviction of one who has become convinced God is good, He makes no mistakes, is able to turn the horrific, the unresolved, the life-draining, into the highest good. And they trust He is absolutely and completely for them, with them, standing for them in the arena. They risk believing He is working every single moment for their best and His glory, even when the bathroom sink counter they leaned up against has left a pervasive water mark just below their waist, moments before they are to walk out and speak to an important audience. Mostly, they risk trusting who God says He is in them, and who they are in Him, on their worst day. They don’t believe this perfectly. Pain and genetic synapse misfires cause them to forget it or not count on it for even seasons of time. But the very nature of the magic they know happened in the cross and resurrection compels them back to it. This is the fiber of who they are. It is their shakable but unmovable residence.
…We see them all around us, wherever we go-heroes of this Faith. This is for them.
*You choose to stay in the arena, amidst unrelenting, constant, debilitating, confusing pain, where most prevailing logic would say God has forgotten and this season will never end.
*You choose the raw vulnerability of giving and receiving love, though your history of relationships is lined with deceit, rejection and abandonment.
*You choose to trust God’s timing of revealing beauty in you, though every historic instinct is crying out to manufacture something external so you won’t feel left out in the cold.
*You choose to believe His grace is your strength and not your record of rightness.
*You choose to believe no bad circumstances can define or indicate His displeasure with you.
*You choose to see God adoring you, even when you can’t remember the last selfless act you performed.
*You trust He makes no mistakes regarding you even as you watch the years go by with your dreams remaining apparently unfulfilled.
*You choose to, though you’ve fought it most of your life, allow others in to tell you what they see, and to believe them and allow them to stand with you in what is revealed.
*You choose to seek out community, though you’ve been burned and the only community you can find around you is bland, common and doesn’t get your humor.
*You choose to see God with His arm around you, smiling, laughing and enjoying you, just because He delights in your presence so ridiculously much.
*You choose to call lies all those voices still vying for attention, screaming that you are and always will be identified by your seeming inferiority and unacceptability.
*You choose to believe the power of Christ to mature you and heal you, though you feel like you’re becoming more arrogant and smugly opinionated with every passing day.
*You choose to see God in such a way that you don’t read condemnation and disgust into your reading of the Scriptures, though your old tapes of shame have read it that way for decades.
*You choose to call a friend to tell her a sin you’re intending to act out because you know if it stays in hiddenness you will act it out, no matter how hard you fight against it.
*You choose to let Him love you, though you have little idea what that would look like.
*You allow grace to cause you to do something from a right motive, rather than doing incredibly impressive things from a motive of proving, assuaging shame or getting right with God.
*You get up today.
*You choose to give up your rights to bitterness and, initially before God alone, forgive the other, for your benefit, so you can be freed to love again.
*You thank Him for allowing you to do something supernaturally wonderful, rather than imaging it is proof that you are indeed better than others.
*You choose to count yourself no better than others, though privately, all your life, you’ve thought your sins were of a lesser nature than most.
*You ask God to give you new eyesight after you feared your best years were behind you.
*You choose to not globalize yourself as a failure when you are revealed as having failed.
*You risk learning to enjoy being by yourself and God, knowing it could be very awkward for awhile.
*You refuse to believe there is a class of “together people”, and instead look past appearances into the pain, regret and loss every human carries.
*You risk being condescended to or marginalized as you share this message of grace and Christ identity, in a culture where heroic-looking sin management is the prevailing message of the day.
*You choose to learn how to woo the new nature out of your friends and family, leading to heartfelt obedience, when you’d much rather guilt or shame them into simple compliance.
*You choose to no longer factor your age with your “accomplishments” and declaring your life to be a failure.
*You actually dare to believe that God wanted an exact you on this planet at this time.
*You choose to believe that a sovereign, perfect, loving God still has you right on time.
…John, one of the three amigos, part of the ever-growing, heroic, tribe of grace.