At Our Worst
A few nights ago, I had a great conversation with my very best friend in the whole world. We were texting about the things I have been struggling with and she was offering a loving shoulder and some biblical advice. It wasn’t really anything new, but it made me think about some things in a different way than before. I will come back to this conversation in just a second, but I want to give some background to bring clarity on why this was important to me.
As Christians, we often hear some form of the phrase, “God wants all of you.” Sometimes we make this out to be a phrase of war, used in reference to us slaying our sin and battling to advance the Kingdom of God. Personally, when I hear this phrase, my first thought is exactly that. He wants our first fruits, and the things that require grit, sacrifice and biblical decision-making skills in which my flesh takes great offense. These things are very crucial to our walk in different seasons of life. But so is our deeply rooted understanding that God wants us at our worst as well. We mustn’t forget the tender, Father heart of God also involved in God requiring “all of us.”
In all honesty, it has always been difficult for me to reconcile the wrathful side of God with His loving side. This is something I still don’t totally understand, and that is precisely the reason I needed to have the conversation with my friend that I did. She told me that God doesn’t just want the extroverted, exciting and outgoing version of me. He wants the hurting and broken-hearted part of me as well.
Writing this particular blog really made me realize that God has answered a prayer I have prayed sporadically, asking God to basically refresh and reinvent and my view of Him. Looking back, He answers it many times per week when I reach out to those around me for counsel and support. To my fault, I mostly expect God to answer my prayers in big, shiny ways. In reality, He mostly answers them in ways that are so ordinary that if I am not looking, I won’t even notice. I suppose that could be a whole separate blog post (thanks God). But He chose to answer my prayer through my sweet friend that day.
Some days I am much more ready to go for ministry than others. I am ready to love people and do my thing for God. But this season of my life has been much like a drought, and that attitude is scarce. God isn’t mad at me for it though; if anything I’ve probably ticked Him off by trying to do life by myself like I’ve got everything together over here ( here’s a big LOL to that thought). Nobody has it together. This kind of reminds me of marriage vows, where two people who love each other make a promise to one another, not really knowing what life will look like the next week or even day. Unlike when humans make this promise to one another, God knew exactly what He was getting into when He promised to save me. He knew what a rascal I was going to be and knew about the self-erected walls around my heart even before I did. He made a promise to stick with me and never leave me, “for better or for worse.”
When He says He wants all of me, He wants all of my love and devotion… but He wants the ugly parts of me as well. He wants you despite the ugly parts of your heart, too. When you’ve promised your kids that you won’t drink anymore and stumble in the door at 3 am with booze on your breath, God still wants you. When you’ve tried so hard to kick that porn habit that’s been a secret for 10 years and you relapse after 2 weeks of being clean, God still wants you. When you gamble your child’s college savings account away, God still wants you. When you embezzle from your employer, when you shoot up heroin you bought with money you stole from your sweet mother, when you lie to your best friend for the millionth time, when you cheat on and divorce your husband… The list goes on forever and ever. There is never a time or a place we could find ourselves where God is not willing to take us back. There is no fear in love (1 John 4:18).
So next time I find myself in a nasty place of heart (which is way more often than I would like to admit) I need to run to my Savior. He wants me when I’m ugly and broken down, as well as when I’m floating on cloud 9 with a Vernors in each hand (that stuff is gonna be on endless tap in heaven). God is not intimidated by the magnitude of our brokenness. He’s not on His throne thinking, “Well you see Linda, you lied twice yesterday and last Friday you saw that lady drop a twenty and kept it instead of returning it to her, so I’m afraid I cannot love you anymore.” It is often pride that makes us surprised when we fall into gross sin. We think we can change God’s mind and heart into not loving us anymore. That would be a weak, fickle God if that were the case. We stink as humans, and God knew that when He created us. But God does not change. He does not stop being love itself. God is love. It’s in His nature. It’s who HE IS.
So next time you find yourself tempted or already in sin, stand up, run into the arms of Christ, and let Him rid you of your shame