I was praying for grace this morning. I’m tired of people. Do you ever feel that way? Just too many people, too many demands. They’re too complicated; I’m too complicated. We interact in broken ways. A friend betrays something I shared in confidence to another friend. What the friend shared reveals a piece of my brokenness. So then I’m ticked at the betrayal, and the second friend is wounded by my brokenness.
It’s a convoluted mess. I wake up at 4:20 a.m. because Whimsy has crawled up next to me in bed and I’m hot. I push him down to the end of the bed and begin thinking, “Why was I so quick to send that email in the first place? Why can’t I leave it lie for a while?” And the thoughts churn in my mind.
About 4:40 a.m., I think, “To heck with this. I’d be better off just getting out of bed and making a pot of coffee so I can journal out my thoughts.”
So, that’s what I do. It’s raining outside – Whimsy wants out and the cat wants in. I make the coffee and it’s delicious and palliative. This is much better than lying in bed. And I pray, “God give me grace.” I just am tired of all the issues. Life would be much easier if I didn’t have to deal with people and their issues that inevitably reveal the brokenness in my life. This is why we people don’t do community. This is why it’s so much easier to just do the institutional church and call it good.
“God give me grace,” I pray and open the Bible to see what God might have to say. And immediately I read Jonah 2:8, “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.”
Dang! I hate that about God. That’s not what grace is supposed to look like! It’s supposed to be an easing up of the pressure to change. It’s supposed to be a mother’s voice cooing over me, “There, there, it’s going to be alright. Don’t worry about those other people and their issues.” But no, this God we serve is as incisive and direct as he is personal. He doesn’t let me off the hook, but goes after my brokenness like a surgeon.
And so I’m led to pray begrudgingly, “OK, where have I substituted something else for you? Where have idols crept into my life?” The dialog goes on from there. It’s my hurt feelings that are in the way. He wants them – I need to give up the right to be hurt. Aaak – I hate this. God is a jealous lover – the very trust I may have lost in another is the trust he wants back from me. It stinks, but it’s better than not having the conversation in the first place.