I have had the privilege of sharing an apartment with five other amazing women. Each comes from a unique background, and each is very different from me. Many of them have seen trial after trial occur in their life, or their upbringing or surroundings has given them a bit of an “edge” per say. This is coming from the perspective of a recovering goody toe-shoes who spent most of her life living in some pristine saintly bubble looking for ways to “fix” others around her.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Romans 8:38-39
Said scripture verse that seemed to plant itself in my mind in these wee hours of the morning. Nevertheless, I am sitting up in my bed obeying the impulse to write in these God-forsaken hours pretending that I don’t have a piano lesson at 9:30AM. What went through my mind to cause me to succumb? I began to think of some of the friends I have, those who seem a bit “rough” around the edges, yet still love Jesus with their whole heart. Yeah, those kind. Those who will do things out of habit that would have them scolded in Sunday school, but has such passion for God and life it fizzles out onto everything. These friends I have are among the most loving of people I know. Not that the friends I have who have spotless records are not loving, it is just I have noticed a difference. My friends with the most broken homes, backgrounds, and bodies love others with Grit.
This line got my blood pumping and I felt it injustice not to write about this thought that has been steeping in my mind for months now. Now, back to Romans 8. I believe it takes one falling lowest to the ground to be able to experience the vastness and unstoppable nature of God’s love for his created ones. This is why those with battered pasts and sailor mouths can be the most effective witnesses to the sacrifice Christ made on Calvary. This idea was initially planted in my head by Mr. C.S. Lewis himself as I poured over his book Mere Christianity the summer before my freshman year of college. The idea that those with naturally good nature and even temper tend to settle and live mediocre lives as Christians. I began to see myself in this reflection. I, who lived a “healthy” life, was raised by loving supportive parents who always brought us to church, suffered through family tragedy before I was old enough to feel its effects, and never got in trouble at school. Was I settling for mediocre?
C.S. Lewis goes on to talk about how many times the fiery tempered man with an alcohol problem who found Jesus while he was at rock bottom becomes a more vibrant witness for Christ (If I had my book with me I would reference pages and such). Not to say that one soul is more significant than the other, it is just from my end of sight, this observation has held true. The recovering drunk knows he is weak, and that he literally had to be scooped up from his rocky bottom floor by Christ to be able to see light and truth again. Now comes the conclusion men and women like this who have experienced the freedom of Christ can love with more abandon; they know truly no distance had them out of the grasp of God’s love so they need not fear. Those who know they have nothing left to lose love courageously.
This is the gospel folks! No one loved us with more grit than Christ. His life in ministry was full of many trials (I mean 40 days and nights in desert, fasting, and then being tempted by Satan to jump off a cliff??) Jesus was also fully man, he was putting everything on the line because he loved the Father and all of humankind who needed him to allow himself to be submitted to death by slow and painful asphyxiation while hanging by nails on a wooden stake of sorts. All of this to restore a relationship between Creator and created. Calvary was the ultimate expression of love.
I don’t want to be mediocre. I don’t want to be a mediocre lover of God and his created ones. I want to be like Peter, who knew his weakness and had a revelation of Christ through his own weakness. I want to be like Paul, who came from a background of hate and remorse, yet says
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. ~Philippians 3:7-9
revealing some of his coarseness of nature in the actual original meaning of the word garbage which my New Testament Professor kindly told us was the equivalent of street s**t! Paul knew that the things, desires and deeds of his past were worthless and he went on forward putting all at stake to love God and those who needed to hear. I want to shine brightly for Christ like these coarse people who love with grit!
Now here is a song which paints a beautiful picture of the lengths God went to restore all of us broken people:
I could write more, but I shan’t. Maybe a part two sometime…